Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family have “negative value” to the United Kingdom, author Norman Baker claimed during a scathing attack on the monarchy. The former Liberal Democrat MP turned writer suggested British taxpayers have been paying for the upkeep of royals more than they generate through tourism. Asked about the contribution the Queen and her family make to Britain, Mr Baker told talkRADIO: “Well, I expect is negative considering the amount of money we spend on them.
“We are paying £82m a year from the Sovereign Grant, there’s then an estimate of £200,000-£300,000 for security and stuff like that.”
Depending on the money the Royal Family brings in, the Queen is awarded the so-called Sovereign Grant. The grant comes from the public via taxes and levies paid on land owned by the monarchy, called the Crown Estate, which is paid to the Government which then pays a portion back to the royals.
Data from VisitBritain released earlier this year showed tourism in the UK linked to royal residences like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle attracted over 2.5 million visitors each year.
Mr Baker continued: “The royal palace in Europe that gets the most visitors is Versailles and the French got rid of the monarchy in 1848.
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“I don’t think we should base our constitutional form on what tourists like.”
The Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen and her household’s official expenses, show the monarchy costs the taxpayer £67 million during 2018-19, an increase of almost £20million in the previous financial year.
The Royal Household accounts for the last financial years revealed Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall had engaged in the most expensive foreign trip – costing British taxpayers more than £415,000.
Charles and Camilla headed to the Caribbean on the official ministerial jet RAF Vogaer as they embarked on a historic visit to Cuba at the Government’s request.
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The pair engaged on some island-hopping between St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Havana among others at the cost of £416,576.
Royal receipts also showed the Royal Family’s household spent £2.3 million on official hospitality and housekeeping in 2018, including £1.7 million on food and drink.
The Queen is known to have hosted as many as 50,000 people in London alone at various garden parties and banquets she has thrown over the years, with many more guests having the chance to share a meal with Her Majesty at one of her several residences across the country.
Royal expert Emily Andrews told Channel 5 earlier this year: “Every year, the Royal Family caters to thousands of people. Just at Buckingham Palace, it’s 50,000 people every year.
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“In 2018, the Royal Family spent £1.6 million on food – that food will be food for garden parties, food for guests who are visiting the Queen is entertaining.
“It will be tea she gives to the Prime Minister at their weekly audience. It’s a huge amount of money and most people’s weekly shop is £50-£100 at the supermarket.”
The royal commentator also said the Royal Family has been using state banquets to promote the best of “brand Britain”, with the Queen demanding in-season British food is served when she is hosting.
She added: “It’s the highlight of any state visit of a visiting Head of State coming to the UK. It’s kind of the centerpiece, really. It’s to show the best of British, locally sourced – something that’s quite fresh and light.
“The attention to details is selling brand Britain, in both the way it is prepared and what it is, speaks volume.”
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