UNDER THE CROWN – The Poverty Gap

1% OF THE POPULATION OWN HALF  OF THE LAND  IN THE UK

MINISTERS RECENTLY ADMITTED ENGLAND’S HOUSING MARKET WAS ‘BROKEN’ Home ownership in England has fallen to its lowest level for 30 years with almost half of all people in England aged 25 to 34 living in rented accommodation. Home ownership is out of reach for young people with many forced to remain with parents, the average age for first time buyers is now 32.  ‘The unemployment rate (the proportion of the economically active population who are unemployed) for 16-24 year olds was 11.2% in August-October 2019’  (House of Commons Library).  ”For 16-24 year olds, the basic rate of Unemployment Benefit is £57.90  ($75.62) a week, for those 25 and over, it’s £73.10  ($95.47) with reductions for any hours worked or for any pension. In 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions introduced the ‘Bedroom Tax’ setting a target to ‘encourage’ 30%  of tenants with an ‘extra’ bedroom, living in social housing, to move home by 2017.  Where a property has a 2nd bed room this is taxed, tenants have their Unemployment Benefit reduced by some £14 per week and by up to £25 for a third bedroom. No exemption is given for separated or divorced fathers  attempting to provide accommodation for their children.  

LAND OWNERSHIP  HAS ALWAYS CONFERRED WEALTH AND POWER, DICTATING PROPERTY OWNERSHIP.  Today, most of UK land remains in the hands of the descendants of the French nobles and soldiers who became the aristocracy after being gifted land  from 1066 by William the Conqueror, in return for service. Successive monarchs continued the practice of granting land in exchange for duties and today 70% of Britain’s land remains in the hands of 1% of the population, highlighting  an ever widening poverty gap.

WITH HER 6.6 BILLION ACRES QUEEN ELIZABETH IS BY FAR THE WORLDS LARGEST LANDOWNER INCLUDING LAND IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA.

Complex accountancy systems have evolved over 700 years which seek to identify and separate the private and public role of the  monarch and the heir to the throne, assuring public and private income  for both in addition to income from the Crown Estate. As Head of State the queen officially holds ownership of palaces and estates for life, which are automatically bequeathed to her successor. As an example, the Crown Jewels, with an estimated value of between three and five billion pounds are not owned by the State but by the prevailing monarch.

Buckingham Palace, the  official London residence of the monarch  is owned by the Queen as part of the Crown Estate.  It has 775 rooms, 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

 

THE QUEEN HAS 2 PRIVATELY OWNED RESIDENCES

BALMORAL CASTLE is the Queen’s Scottish retreat. With over 50,000 acres and 775 rooms  it is valued at  £115 million. The estate was purchased in 1852, no revenues are received by Parliament as the castle was bought in the name of  Prince Albert, the husband of  Queen Victoria rather than in the monarchs name.  As the ballroom is open to the public  her Majesty starts her summer break in the seven-bedroom Craigowan Lodge on the estate  before moving into the main house in August.

SANDRINGHAM a 20,000 acre Estate is the Queen’s personal residence and country retreat, valued at £50 million.

THE CROWN ESTATE

The Queen owns a huge property portfolio called the Crown Estate, which holds £14 billion worth of property in the UK, it includes numerous palaces used as residences by the Queen’s extended royal family. The Crown Estate is managed by the monarch and generates income and revenues of some  £306.32 million ($400 million) per year. Net profit passes to Parliament which is responsible for maintenance and refurbishment of the properties.

THE SOVEREIGN GRANT:  In return for income generated by royal properties, the Queen receives 25% of net profits from the Crown Estate as payment under The Sovereign Grant, to provide an independent source of income for use by the royal household. The major  costs of maintaining the monarchy are met by Parliament.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE. The official residence of the  monarch. Estimated value £2.2 billion. The palace has 775 rooms which include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

 

 

WINDSOR CASTLE: Queen Elizabeth II principal weekend retreat. Built c 1070 it is worth over £181 million.

 

 

Holyrood Palace, the Scottish        residence of the queen where she typically stays in the first week of the summer.            

 

 

Hillsborough Castle, the Northern Ireland residence of the queen during her visits.

 

THE QUEEN AND THE PRINCE OF WALES  RECEIVE PRIVATE INCOME THROUGH THE DUCHY OF LANCASTER AND THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL.,FEUDAL ECONOMIES WHICH HAVE SURVIVED  FOR OVER 700 YEARS.

The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate owned by the British sovereign, currently valued at £534 million. This  ancient inheritance began 750 years ago, in 1265, when Henry III gifted to his son, lands which had been forfeited by the Earl of Leicester. Henry decreed that the lands would provide a private income for subsequent monarchs through inheritance.

The Duchy of Cornwall owned by Prince Charles has £1 billion in assets. He is  the largest private landowner in England, annual income from the duchy is £21.6m. Created in 1337 by Edward III, as a personal endowment for his son, its lands and revenues have belonged to the male heir to the throne from that time. The Duchy is not designated a Company and so does not pay Corporation Tax. In his capacity as Duke of Cornwall, Charles owns an estate spread across 23 counties, which includes the Scilly Isles and coastal waters.

 

Clarence House: The official London residence of  the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, adjacent to St James Palace, has an estimated value £58.5 million. It was formerly the home of the queen mother and inherited by her grandson on her death.

 

PRIVATE RESIDENCES OWNED BY PRINCE CHARLES

 

High Grove House and Gardens. The main private residence of Prince Charles and Camilla.  A country estate with extensive gardens purchased by the prince under the Duchy of Lancaster.

 

 

 

Birkhall, a 53,000 acre Scottish retreat on the Balmoral Estate, inherited  by Prince Charles from the queen mother.

 

 

 

Llwynywermod a 192 acre estate in Carmarthenshire, is the private residence of Prince Charles and Camilla when staying in Wales.

 

 

 

Tamarisk House, private residence of Prince Charles and Camilla located on the main island, Isles of Scilly, Cornwall.

 

 

HOMES OF THE QUEENS CHILDREN

GATCOMBE PARK. Home of the Princess Royal. Bought privately by the Queen for her and her then-husband, Captain Mark Phillips. Extensively refurbished and renovated prior to the family moving in, back in the late 1970s, funded by the Crown purse.

 

ROYAL LODGE WINDSOR: Home of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and his ex wife Sarah Ferguson. A 30 room residence within Windsor Park. Gifted by the queen mother in 2003. He will continue to reside there after stepping down from royal duties in 2019.

BAGSHOT PARK MANSION:  Home of Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex and Sophie. Mansion House with 51 acres set in Windsor Great Park. Owned by  the Crown Estate, with a 50 year rental lease  to Edward and Sophie at £90,000 pa. Renovations £2.98 million, half  paid by Crown.

ANMER HALL. Home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the Sandringham  state. A wedding gift from the queen, is now the country home of William and Kate and their children. They also reside in a Kensington Palace apartment to cover their royal duties.

FROGMORE COTTAGE on the  Windsor Estate. Home of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Given by the Queen as a wedding gift. Renovations cost to taxpayer £2.4m. Following their decision to ‘step down’ from royal duties the renovation costs are to be repaid..

 

IT IS SAID ‘AN ENGLISH MAN’S HOME IS HIS CASTLE’  – A RIGHT PRESERVED FOR THE FEW…  A BEDROOM TAX FOR THE WEALTHY MIGHT GO SOME WAY TO RESOLVING THE CURRENT HOUSING CRISIS.

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