There has been a shocked response to news that the royal family is seeking to negotiate an increase in the Civil List, the amount of money that they are granted each year from public funds. The outrage is particularly strong given that all three main parties are supporting cuts to public services due to the recession.
The annual Civil List currently stands at around £7.9 million. The royal family currently has a £21 million surplus in the reserves of the Civil List account.
Despite this, the Treasury is reported to be in negotiation with Buckingham Palace officials, who are seeking a rise due to “increased costs”.
The Civil List Act of 1972 means that MPs can vote only to increase the sum, not reduce it, when they debate the Civil List next year. They will be determining the shape of the Civil List for the following decade.
The news has triggered calls for a change in the law.
“All three main parties are competing over cuts to public spending” said Graham Smith of Republic, “Are we really being told that schools and hospitals can be cut but palaces and helicopter flights for the Windsor family can't?”
The Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker spoke of “the taxpayer paying for Prince Andrew's flights to take part in golf matches” and insisted that the royal family “have a duty to make savings as much as everybody else”.