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Here’s a late royal wedding gift: A pay cut
Question of the Day
LONDON (AP) - After the pricey glitz of Britain's royal wedding celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II must prepare for a pay cut under the country's austerity measures, lawmakers warned Thursday.
Treasury chief George Osborne said plans being put for approval to lawmakers would see public funding to the royal family fall by about 9 percent by 2015.
Under the government's plan, the queen's household would receive an estimated 34 million pounds ($55 million) in the financial year 2013-2014. The figure is roughly the same as now, and in effect would be a cut in her funding once inflation is taken into account.
Under new rules, the amount the queen receives from taxpayers to meet the costs of salaries, palaces, travel and functions would more closely reflect the state of the public finances. "Basically, they will do as well as the economy is doing," Osborne told the House of Commons.
Osborne said that, in a change to current practice, the queen had already agreed to allow Britain's National Audit Office to examine her family's accounts.
"This is a big and historic extension to parliamentary scrutiny and I would like to thank Her Majesty for opening up the books," he said.
Osborne said the current cost of supporting the royal family was the equivalent of 51 pence (82 cents) per person each year.
Labour lawmaker Paul Flynn urged the queen to show prudence at a time when the British public are wrestling with pay freezes and job losses.
Britain's government is cutting 81 billion pounds ($130 billion) from public expenditure over the next four years under a strict program to reduce the country's budget deficit.
"We must apply the same financial discipline as we apply to the poorest in society to those who are in the royal family," Flynn said.
Other legislators warned that the proposals risked leaving Britain with a cut price monarchy, which could no longer command international attention with lavish displays of pomp and ceremony.
"We want a glamorous monarchy that befits the status of our nation," Conservative Party lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said.
Rees-Mogg said Parliament would need to carefully consider whether it wanted a "proper and well-funded monarchy."
"When I see the coronation coach being pulled through the streets of London, I want to see it pulled by the finest horses money can buy. I want to see it gilded with the finest gold that can be bought," he added.
The proposals are scheduled to be debated in full by legislators in the comings months.
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