UK MPs to examine royal expenses

Buckingham Palace

Following a change in the British law that allows MPs to look into royal finances, Queen Elizabeth and the royal family face an inquiry into their expenses that would decide whether they provide value for taxpayer money.

The inquiry, to be launched later this year by the House of Commons’ powerful Public Accounts Committee, will grill the Queen’s closest allies, The Independent said.

The committee will decide on the scope of the investigations after the National Audit Office (NAO) gets access to the Queen’s finances next month.

The NAO is to prepare a report on Queen Elizabeth’s finances that will be the basis for the Public Accounts Committee’s further action, deemed to include calling palace officials before the Commons to explain on their finances.

“[Committee chairperson] Margaret [Hodge] wants to do it – but obviously it’s got to be a decision of the whole committee,” the paper quoted a source as saying.

Meanwhile, Austin Mitchell, a member of the committee from the Labour party said he’s “all in favor of” a hearing.

“It’s not intrusive. It is about ensuring that the public are getting good value for money. At the moment there is no accountability for spending what is a considerable fortune,” he added.

Some of the spending to be scrutinized are expected to be the royal transport costs including the Royal Train and the Royal Flight, the royals’ entertainment and the upkeep of palaces.

The government has recently approved a law that scrapped the former payment to the royal family known as the Civil List to replace it with a “Sovereign Grant” that would be 15 percent of the income from the Royal Estate.

The Royal Estate assets include Regent Street in London, Ascot racecourse and Windsor Great Park, 265,000 acres of farmland, as well as Britain’s national seabed stretching out 12 nautical miles around the country.