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Queen's finances to be investigated

world Updated: Feb 09, 2013 23:25 IST
Queen Elizabeth II

For the first time ever, Queen Elizabeth II is likely to face a robust inquiry into her finances and expenses by British MPs due to a recent change in law.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is expected to launch an investigation into whether the monarch and the royal family provide value for money to the taxpayer, say media reports.

The inquiry, which will look at every aspect of the Queen's expenditure, including the cost of transport, may be a cause for concern in Buckingham Palace because of the PAC's reputation for grilling civil servants over the use of public funds.

The question of whether Britain's monarch and her household are a drain on the taxpayers has long been a topic of debate, with anti-royalists arguing in favour of curbing royal expenses. The amount of public funds going to the royal family soared last year, despite government cuts.

The PAC, chaired by the former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, will decide on the scope of any inquiry after the National Audit Office is granted access to the Queen's finances next month, according to a report in The Independent.

Auditors will produce a report on their findings which will then be scrutinised by the committee who will decide whether to call palace officials to give evidence. PAC sources indicated that this was likely to happen.

"I'm all in favour of it," said Austin Mitchell, a Labour MP who sits on the committee. "It's not intrusive. It is about ensuring that the public are getting good value for money."