Royals cost us 61p each

Last updated at 14:01 24 June 2004

The British public pays 61p a year each to support the Head of State, the annual public finance accounts from Buckingham Palace have revealed.

The figure was part of the Head of State expenditure for 2003-04 was £36.8 million.

More state visits, major overseas tours and ceremonial costs account for the 1.7% increase from the previous year.

This is offset by the exclusion of the one-off Golden Jubilee expenditure in 2002-2003.

Legal bills funded from the Civil List rocketed by £125,000 last year to cover one-off costs for new staff contracts and increases in insurance premiums.

Property Grant-in-Aid, the money which covers property maintenance, utilities, telephones and related services for the occupied Royal palaces, will remain frozen at £15 million until 2005-06.

And it now costs less than two pints of milk - or 61p per person per year - in funding the Head of State, according to Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse.

Up to £6.2 million, including £3 million from the Civil List, is to be spent on information technology in the Royal households over five years, probably making it light years ahead of any system used by any other Royal Family.

Last year there was a huge drop to £6,000 from £27,000 in 2002 in the amount spent on wines and beverages.

This is not a sign that the household is becoming teetotal but that on some occasions, such as state banquets, drinks can be charged to different departments, such as the Foreign Office.

Refurbishments to Clarence House cost £2.312 million and improvements to the staff welfare area at Buckingham Palace cost £643,000.

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