Royal finances: ‘Airmiles Andy’ and the £378000 taxpayer-funded travel bill

by Shelton on July 8th, 2012

filed under Finances

Royal spending went up pound;200,000 to pound;32.3 million, the equivalent of 52p for
every person in Britain, though Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the Privy Purse,
said spending had gone down by 26 per cent in real terms over the past three
years if inflation was taken into account.

Travel accounted for pound;6.1m of the total, with other members of the Royal
family also racking up large bills on charter flights.

The most expensive trip of the year was the Prince of Waless tour of the
Middle East and Africa last November with the Duchess of Cornwall, which
cost pound;460,387 after a private aeroplane was chartered for the entire trip.

Only five days earlier, the Prince of Wales had run up a pound;67,215 bill on a
round trip to Riyadh to attend the funeral of the Saudi crown prince, Sultan
bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

Interactive chart: Breakdown of royal travel costs

Royal aides said charter flights were only used when scheduled flights were
unavailable, but even when members of the Royal family fly on scheduled
flights, their staff fly business class, which is typically eight times more
expensive than economy.

The Duke of York, who travels with three or four staff, stood down from his
role as Britains trade ambassador in July last year, but carried on with
engagements he had previously agreed to fulfil.

The royal accounts show he spent pound;378,249 on travel, of which pound;354,667 was on
trade missions for UK Trade and Investment. They included visits to Jakarta,
Bangkok, Washington, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and two trips to China.

Among the four trips he made on chartered aircraft were a UKTI visit to China,
Thailand and Malaysia in October, which cost pound;72,250, and another visit to
China, costing pound;62,215.

The figures include hotel bills but do not include the cost of flights and
hotels for police bodyguards.

Interactive chart: Distance travelled by rail

The royal accounts only give detailed figures for trips costing more than
pound;10,000, meaning the true figure for the Duke of Yorks travel bill could be
significantly higher.

The Royal flights helicopter was used 153 times by various members of the
Royal family, at a cost of pound;549,183, while chartered helicopters cost
pound;276,719 and 47 other charter flights costing less than pound;10,000 each added
another pound;338,054.

The accounts show that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridges tour of Canada and
California last year cost the taxpayer pound;51,410, the cost of business class
seats for them and their entourage on a flight back from Los Angeles.

The Duke and Duchess, and their foreign relations adviser Sir David Manning
were given free upgrades to first class by British Airways.

The rest of the trip was paid for by the Canadian government, which provided a
charter aircraft for the royal party.

A reconnaissance visit to California by the Duke and Duchesss staff cost the
taxpayer another pound;15,094.

The figures released by Buckingham Palace include the Prince of Waless pound;2m
travel bill, which was announced in Clarence Houses accounts on Friday, as
the accounts detail all publicly-funded royal spending. The accounts do not
include the Prince of Waless private income and spending from the Duchy of
Cornwall.

The 2011-12 financial year was the last one in which the Queens finances were
funded by the Civil List and Government grants.

For the current financial year the Queens funding will come from a percentage
of the profits of the Crown Estate, increasing her income to a projected
pound;36m.

Royal aides said the extra money had been earmarked for urgent repairs to the
royal palaces which had been put off for years because of a steady decrease
in the Queens income in real terms.

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