Matt's View: Keep a lid on Royal spending

PUBLISHED: 09:02 01 February 2014

The Queen

The Queen

Archant

When it comes to opinions on the royal family, my backside tends to remain firmly on the fence.

I have no great love for them, but on the other hand have no desire to see them ousted: it would cause a lot of hassle, and probably force the Daily Express to go out of business. Or write more weather stories.

But I was a bit annoyed this week to discover that the cost of supporting the Queen is going up by £5million, from £31million to £36million in 2013/14.

On top of this, the royal household overspent by more than £2million last year, and MPs on the government’s Public Accounts Committee say there is “huge scope for saving” in the royal budget.

The committee’s chair, Margaret Hodge, said: “I don’t think we’d accuse anybody of profligacy but, what we are saying, is that we don’t think the Queen is served well either by the Royal Household or, indeed, by the Treasury,”

Anyone who’s seen some of the items claimed by MPs on expenses might find it a bit rich that they’re now lecturing others on how to spend public money. And it’s possible Mrs Hodge only stopped short of using the term profligacy for fear of being thrown into the Tower of London for an indefinite period. But on a serious note, I think it’s quite morally wrong to increase spending on the royals when public spending cuts are effecting all areas of life and many people are struggling to make ends meet. Perhaps the number of foreign trips the royals make could be reduced: you only have to look at the 2012 Jubilee celebrations to see that there is still a lot of love for them out on the streets of the UK. Less jaunts abroad and more trips around the country might be a good way to save some cash.

Opening Buckingham Palace to visitors on a more regular basis has also been suggested, and I think this is a great idea too. If more public money is going to be spent on the royals, we should at least be able to see what we’re paying for.

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