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Royal bill of pounds 1.2m revealed as civil list spending is frozen.

Byline: Ella Pickover

THE Queen's household lavished pounds 1.2m of taxpayers' money on catering and hospitality last year, a report on Royal expenditure revealed last night.

Of this, pounds 700,000 was spent on garden parties and a further pounds 500,000 went on food and kitchens.

The figures, published in the once-a-decade Report of the Royal Trustees, showed annual expenditure on food and entertaining rose pounds 400,000 over the past eight years.

In 2001, the Royal household spent just pounds 800,000 on catering and hospitality.

The Queen entertains nearly 50,000 people each year.

The report also revealed that pounds 300,000 of public money was spent on Royal furnishings and equipment last year, the same amount on ceremonial functions, including carriage processions, and the same sum again on stationery, printing and binding.

In 2009, there was pounds 100,000 of taxpayers' money spent on Royal travel and pounds 10.3m spent on paying staff.

This figure represents an increase of pounds 4.2m since 2001. It is expected to rise to pounds 10.4m this year.

The Royal household employs about 1,200 staff, including caterers, gardeners, secretaries, press officers, property surveyors and furniture restorers.

Taxpayers fund the household annually through the Civil List, which was yesterday frozen at pounds 7.9m for the coming year.

The sum is set every 10 years and was due to be revised in 2010, but Chancellor George Osborne opted against raising it amid a Budget full of spending cuts and tax rises.

The Royal households have agreed that, in future, Civil List expenditure will be subject to the same audit scrutiny as other Government expenditure through the National Audit Office and the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

Salary and pension payments for members of the Lord Chamberlain's Committee paid from the Civil List were also disclosed in the report.

Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse and Royal finances, was shown to have been paid pounds 180,000 in 2009-10.

As Treasurer to the Queen, Sir Alan's role includes overseeing the management of the Civil List.

The Private Secretary to the Queen, the Rt Hon Christopher Geidt, earned pounds 146,000 over the same period.

Both men earn more than Prime Minister David Cameron, who receives a salary of pounds 142,500.

In addition to the pounds 7.9m of public funding from last year's Civil List payment, the Royal household also drew on pounds 6.5m reserve funding.

Under the Civil List Act 1972, any annuity paid by the Government that exceeds Civil List expenditure for the year can be invested for the future.

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The Queen at Ascot last week
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 23, 2010
Words:446
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