King Charles asks for £1bn Crown wind farm profits to go to the 'public good'
The King has asked for profits from a £1 billion-a-year Crown Estate wind farm deal to go to the public, as he realises “great anxiety and hardship” caused by the cost of living crisis.
A high-value deal has been made for six new offshore wind farms, which could power up to 7 million homes.
They are located off the North Wales, Cumbria and Lancashire coast, and three are located in the North Sea off the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast.
The agreement usually would have lead to a boost in the monarchy’s official funding.
But Charles, who highlighted the cost-of-living crisis in his Christmas message, has requested the extra funds “be directed for wider public good”.
In his first broadcast last month he spoke about the “great anxiety and hardship” experienced by many trying to “pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm”. The message also featured footage of a food bank and other scenes of meals being distributed to the homeless.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed the Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Michael Stevens, who manages the royal household’s finances, has written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor to share the King’s wishes.
It is not clear as to the exact amount of taxpayer funding the King has passed up, but it is likely to be many millions.
What is the Crown Estate?
The windfarms are part of The Crown Estate – an ancient portfolio of land and property – which belongs to the reigning monarch ‘in right of The Crown’ but it is not their private property.
The capital value of the portfolio is more than £15 billion.
The monarch surrenders the £312 million per annum revenue from the Estate to the Treasury each year for the benefit of the nation’s finances, in exchange for the Sovereign Grant.
What is the Sovereign Grant?
The Sovereign Grant covers the running costs of the royal household and events such as official receptions, investitures and garden parties.
Under the taxpayer-funded grant, currently £86.3 million a year, the King receives 25% of the Crown Estate’s annual surplus.
This includes an extra 10% for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.
The Sovereign Grant is based on funds two years in arrears, so any boost in Crown Estate profits and new percentage arrangements would not impact the grant until 2024-2025.
The percentage increased from 15% to 25% in 2017 to cover the cost of a 10-year programme of £369 million’s worth of repairs at the Palace.
The Grant goes up if Crown Estate profits increase, but it does not fall when they decrease.
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