The Government has
today published the Sovereign Grant Bill.
The Bill will establish a more permanent, flexible and
accountable way of supporting Her Majesty, The Queen in Her
official duties. The Civil List has been paid to Sovereigns since
1760. Legislation was last substantively revised in 1972. The Bill
sets out the detail of the approach announced by the Government at
the June Budget 2010 and Spending Review 2010.
The Bill will:
• introduce a single Sovereign Grant based on a proportion of
surplus revenues from the Crown Estate, consolidating the three
separate grants used in the current system, including the Civil List;
• increase scrutiny of support to the Royal Household, bringing
the audit arrangements in line with those of Government
departments and allowing for full Parliamentary scrutiny of the
Grant accounts; and
• rationalise other aspects of support to the Royal Household,
[including allowing future incoming monarchs to extend the new
Grant provisions for their reign and ensuring that all heirs,
whether Duke of Cornwall or not, receive the same support.]
In introducing the Bill to Parliament, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, George Osborne said:
“[The] new Sovereign Grant ... balances the public interest
that our Queen is properly funded to carry out her official duties
and the completely legitimate interest of the taxpayer in proper
accountability and value for money.”
He introduced his statement by “recognising the Queen’s long
service and immense contribution to public life in our country.”
Notes for Editors
1. The Civil List has been paid to Sovereigns since 1760,
following agreement by George III to surrender surplus revenue
from the Crown Estate to the Exchequer in return for grant
support. Legislation was last substantively revised in 1972. The
Civil List is reviewed every ten years and was last reviewed in
2001; the grant level was last changed by Statutory Instrument in 1990.
Single grant for support to the Royal Household
2. The Bill will legislate for a single Sovereign Grant, as
announced by the Government at Spending Review 2010. This new
Grant will replace the existing three grants the Government
provides to the Royal Household: a Civil List from the Exchequer;
a Grant-in-aid for Royal travel from the Department for Transport
(DfT); and a Grant-in-aid for the maintenance of Royal palaces,
and for communications and information, from the Department for
Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
3. The new Sovereign Grant will normally be set at 15% of
Crown Estate surplus revenue in the year two years prior. The new
method for calculating the Grant will take effect from 2013-14.
4. The new Grant will be overseen by the Royal Trustees. The
Royal Trustees are the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer and the Keeper of the Privy Purse. If the Grant proves
greater than required in a given year, the surplus will be paid
into a reserve fund managed by the Royal Trustees, which may be
drawn down in future years, as required. Trustees should not allow
the reserve to exceed half of the Grant in that year, by
specifying a lower Grant amount. In addition, the Trustees will be
bound to consider the suitability of the percentage at intervals
of seven years and to propose a new percentage where necessary.
Scrutiny of support to the Royal Household
5. The Bill will legislate to extend accountability of support to
the Royal Household, as announced by the Government in June Budget
2010. From 2012, the Sovereign Grant accounts will be audited by
the Comptroller and Auditor General, scrutinised by the National
Audit Office, and laid before the House. This will subject them to
the same audit scrutiny as any Government department, including,
if it so decides, by the Public Accounts Committee.
Rationalisation of other arrangements for supporting the Royal Household
6. The Bill also includes a number of other measures to reform
support to the Royal Household.
7. It will ensure that the heir to the throne, whether or not
(s)he is also the Duke of Cornwall, receives the equivalent of
full revenues of the Duchy. So all heirs, whether Duke of Cornwall
or not, are treated the same.
8. Powers in previous Civil List legislation have been set to
expire six months after the end of a Monarch’s reign. In this
time, Parliament must agree provision for the successor Sovereign.
The Bill removes this requirement by allowing future incoming
Monarchs to extend its provisions for their reigns by Order in Council.
9. The Bill also repeals a number of Parliamentary annuities
that are payable to other members of the Royal Family. These
annuities are a statutory anomaly since Her Majesty, The Queen
reimburses the Exchequer for their cost from Her Privy Purse.
However, there is no change to the annuity paid to His Royal
Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh which will continue to be payable
direct from the Consolidated Fund.
10. The Bill was tabled on resolution yesterday, following a
Gracious Message by Her Majesty, The Queen. The Chancellor opened
a debate on the resolutions today in the House of Commons, after
which the Bill was formally presented to the House and published
in full. As a Supply Bill, it will not be debated in the House of
Lords. The Government expects to complete its passage through
Parliament by the end of the year.
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