Queen's $9m pay rise amid row

Queen Elizabeth II. Photo / Rebecca Nduku
Queen Elizabeth II. Photo / Rebecca Nduku

The Queen has received a £5 million ($9 million) pay rise from the taxpayer to carry out her official duties in the middle of a heated political row over welfare reform.

The Sovereign Grant, which replaces the Civil List and other grants, has been set at £36.1 million for the 2013-14 financial year. It covers the running costs of the Queen's household, maintenance of the royal palaces in England and the cost of travel for official engagements, but not security or police protection.

Under the new arrangement, the Queen receives a grant equal to 15 per cent of the profits from the Crown Estate, calculated two years in arrears. The Crown Estate's 2011-12 accounts revealed profits of £240.2 million, hence the £36.1 million figure.

The news came as Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith dismissed demands for him to try to make ends meet on £53 a week as a "complete stunt" as ministers confronted their critics over wider-ranging cuts to benefits.

Smith, who insisted he had experienced life "on the breadline", was backed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in arguing that welfare reforms were essential to helping recipients back into work and tackling Britain's previously burgeoning benefits bill.

They believe the majority of voters - particularly lower-paid workers - back the Coalition's moves to trim welfare spending.

Yesterday almost 300,000 people had signed an online petition challenging Smith to survive on £53 a week, or £7.57 a day, after he insisted he could "if I had to".

- Independent

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