British royal family’s public cash formula changed amid surging windfarm profits

LONDON (Reuters) -The British government said on Thursday it would cut the proportion of funds going to the royal family from the Crown Estate next year, after King Charles said he wanted bumper windfarm profits to go to the “wider public good”.

Each year, the royals receive a “Sovereign Grant” to cover the costs of running their households and for official travel expenses, which is based on surplus revenue of the Crown Estate, a property portfolio belonging to the monarchy but which is independently-run with its profits going to the Treasury.

The Sovereign Grant, which last year was worth 86.3 million pounds ($111 million), is typically based on 15% of Crown Estate profits but has been temporarily increased to 25% to pay for extensive refurbishment work at Buckingham Palace.

However, new deals for offshore wind farms struck in January are expected to see Crown Estate profits surge by 900 million pound a year, and Charles had indicated he wanted this extra money to go the wider good.

On Thursday, the Treasury said the Sovereign Grant next year would be cut to 12% of Crown Estates’ profits, meaning it will remain at 86.3 million pounds but will be 24 million pounds less than if the rate had not changed.

In 2025 and 2026, it would be 130 million lower in than if the rate had remained at 25%, said the Treasury, adding the money “will instead be used to fund vital public services, for the benefit of the nation”.

“The new Sovereign Grant rate reflects the unexpected significant increase in The Crown Estate’s net profits from offshore wind developments, while providing enough funding for official business as well as essential property maintenance, including completing the 10-year reservicing of Buckingham Palace,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said.

($1 = 0.7747 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young and Michael Holden; Editing by Kate Holton)