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Britain's royal family cutting costs

It is now costing the British taxpayer less to maintain the Royal Family, latest accounts released by the Buckingham Palace show.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2010 00:19 IST

It is now costing the British taxpayer less to maintain the Royal Family, latest accounts released by the Buckingham Palace show.

The cost to the taxpayer fell to 62 pence per person in the UK last year, which amounts to a drop of 7 pence. This means that the total cost of keeping the monarchy decreased by 3.3 million pounds to 38.2 million pounds during the 2009-10 financial year.

The figures, however, do not include the cost of security for the Royal Family. A Palace spokesman said the fall was mainly due to a reduction in commercial charter flights and a refund of lease rentals from the Queen's helicopter.

The decrease represented a drop of 12.2 per cent in real terms, the spokesman added. Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: "The Royal Household is acutely aware of the difficult economic climate and took early action to reduce its Civil List expenditure by 2.5 percent in real terms in 2009.

"We are implementing a headcount freeze and reviewing every vacancy to see if we can avoid replacement. Property services funding will be reduced by 500,000 pounds this year," Reid said.

Campaign group Republic, which favours the abolition of the monarchy, said that the Royal Family were continuing to "waste many millions of pounds of taxpayers' money", some of it on "personal luxuries" like "butlers and dressers".

Reid said the royal household "is acutely aware of the difficult economic climate" and will be cutting costs and putting off essential maintenance. The accounts show the government spent more than 15 million pounds on the upkeep of royal residences including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and almost 4 million pounds on royal travel. Both amounts were down from the previous year.

Reid said the royal household would be cutting its property services budget by half a million pounds, "implementing a head count freeze and reviewing every vacancy to see if we can avoid replacement."

In the meantime, the household is continuing to pursue opportunities to reduce costs and generate income from the estate's assets, including commercial lettings and management charges.