The Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said today following a report on the Treasury and the Queen’s Household which deals with the Queen’s accounts that the Queen has not been ‘served well’.
Margaret Hodge MP said that where the committee welcomed the creation of a new ‘Sovereign Grant’ that consolidates the civil list and provides financial resources for the Household to support The Queen’s official duties, which should provide more visibility and accountability of the Royal Household’s spending on the Queen’s official business.
But she also said that the “the Queen has not been served well by the Household and by the Treasury, which is responsible for effective scrutiny of the Household’s financial planning and management.” and urged the Treasury to get actively involved in reviewing the Household’s financial planning and management.
The committee outlined three areas where the Household and the Treasury have fallen short.
Firstly the committee said that the Household was spending more than it was receiving; spending £33.3m more than the £31 million grant it received in 2012-13 which meant it had to get £2.3 million it’s Reserve Fund to make up it’s deficit.
It also recommends that the Household should plan and manage budgets over a longer term with the Treasury becoming more involved.
The third proposal from the committee involved it’s management of important heritage buildings; where it is thought it is not being adequately managed the Parliamentary committee reported that in March 2012, 39% of the Royal estate was assessed as below what the Household deemed to be an acceptable condition.
Mrs Hodge said the “the Household must get a much firmer grip” on addressing it’s maintenance backlog. and that there was “scope for the Household to generate more income and reduce its costs further.” the Committee also concluded that the The Royal Household should reserve a sufficient level of money in it’s contingency Reserve Fund to cover any unforeseen demands on The Queens programme.