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Wind farm profits blow out royals’ public cash formula

The royals receive a "Sovereign Grant" to cover the costs of their households and official travel.

The royals receive a "Sovereign Grant" to cover the costs of their households and official travel. Photo: AP

The British government will cut the proportion of funds going to the royal family from the Crown Estate after King Charles said he wanted bumper wind farm profits to go to the “wider public good”.

Each year, the royals receive a “Sovereign Grant” to cover the costs of running their households and for official travel expenses, which is based on surplus revenue of the Crown Estate, a property portfolio belonging to the monarchy but which is independently run with its profits going to the Treasury.

The Sovereign Grant, which last year was worth £86.3 million ($164 million), is typically based on 15 per cent of Crown Estate profits but has been temporarily increased to 25 per cent to pay for extensive refurbishment work at Buckingham Palace.

However, deals for offshore wind farms struck in January are expected to see Crown Estate profits surge by £900 million ($1.7 billion) a year, and Charles had indicated he wanted this extra money to go the wider good.

On Thursday, the Treasury said the Sovereign Grant next year would be cut to 12 per cent of Crown Estates’ profits, meaning it will remain at £86.3 million ($164.6 million) but will be £24 million ($46 million) less than if the rate had not changed.

In 2025 and 2026, it would be £130 million ($246 million) lower than if the rate had remained at 25 per cent, Treasury said, adding the money “will instead be used to fund vital public services, for the benefit of the nation”.

“The new Sovereign Grant rate reflects the unexpected significant increase in The Crown Estate’s net profits from offshore wind developments while providing enough funding for official business as well as essential property maintenance, including completing the 10-year re-servicing of Buckingham Palace,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said.

-Reuters

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