British royal family to face $45M shortfall due to pandemic

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Sept. 25 (UPI) — The royal family said it plans to cut expenses after projecting a $45 million shortfall to their finances in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Stevens, the keeper of the privy purse, said a lack of tourism due to quarantine restrictions is to blame for the financial hit.

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“In responding to these challenges, we have no intention of asking for extra funding but will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies,” Stevens said.

The family’s royal grant is calculated as a percentage of the income from the Crown Estate from two years previous. The Crown Estate generates income through tourism and other endeavors at properties worth nearly $18 billion.

Because funding is based on a previous year’s income, the financial impact of the pandemic has yet to hit the royal family, but Stevens said a slowdown in tourism will likely bring a funding shortfall of about $19 million over three years.

Additionally, there’s likely to be a a $25.4 million shortfall in a grant the family was expected to receive to undertake a 10-year rehabilitation project of Buckingham Palace. The building’s aging infrastructure hasn’t had a major upgrade in heating, plumbing or wiring since World War II and is facing catastrophic failure, according to officials.

Overall, the 10-year project is expected to cost the British public $469 million.

Stevens said the total sovereign grant for the 2019-20 fiscal year, including the Buckingham Palace rehabilitation project, was $104.82 million. The royal family’s official expenditure for the year was $88.28 million, with $16.54 million transferred to the sovereign grant reserve.

The year’s expenditures included a state visit by U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, and events honoring the 75th anniversary of D-Day and Armistice Day.

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