The Queen will have her income topped up after the Crown Estate’s revenue slumped during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Treasury has confirmed.
The value of the royal family’s portfolio – which includes rent from shops in Regent Streets, shopping centres and retail parks across Britain – has fallen by more than £500 million since the pandemic struck.
But the government said it would provide the estate with extra money to make up for any shortfall in profits, guaranteeing that the Queen’s sovereign grant does not dip.
A Treasury spokesman told The Independent: “In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate’s profits, the sovereign grant is set at the same level as the previous year.
“The revenue from the Crown Estate helps pay for our vital public services – over the last 10 years it has returned a total of £2.8bn to the Exchequer.
“The sovereign grant funds the official business of the monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family.”
Republic, an anti-monarchy campaign group, called the payment a “golden ratchet”, saying: “Once the grant goes up it can never come down, and the taxpayer loses out.”
Robert Palmer, head of Tax Justice UK, added: “This royal bailout will be tough to stomach for people who love the Queen but have lost their jobs and businesses during the pandemic.”
Last week the Crown Estate announced a £55 million drop in the value of its rental portfolio, bringing it to £13.4 billion.
Any profits that it makes are passed back to the Treasury, which then hands a quarter of those profits back to the Queen in the form of the sovereign grant.
Dan Labbad, the Crown Estate’s chief executive, told The Independent: “The current economic and market disruption has led us to take the precaution, with the agreement of the Treasury, of implementing a staged process for the payment of the whole of our net revenue profit.”