Image: © Michael Garnett

Taxpayers spend £2.4m on Harry & Meghan’s new digs

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are doing up their new home with £2.4 million of taxpayer money.

Pretty much everyone who spends any time in the UK gives its government some of their money in the form of tax. Workers pay a percentage of their income. Business owners give over some of their profits. And as pretty much everything bought in the UK includes a tax charge - known as VAT - even tourists and pocket-money-spending kids can be counted as British taxpayers. Some of that tax money is spent on stuff everybody can use or benefit from (the NHS, say, or the police). But some of it is only spent on certain individuals or groups, to the exclusion of everybody else.

Generally, the rule of thumb is that these sort of exclusionary goodies go to people based on need. For example, unemployed and poorer people get welfare payments that richer or employed people do not, because they don’t have as much income to fund the things they need like food and rent.

But this is very much not the case when it comes to the Royal Family, who get given millions of pounds of taxpayer money to spend on things like airline tickets and rewiring their home, even though they are very rich. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have just spent millions making Frogmore Cottage habitable for them and their new kid.

Lots of people get really mad about the idea that super-rich royalty should get free stuff from the government, especially after a decade of austerity cuts have caused big drops in living standards for many Brits.

Others say royal funding is less outrageous than it seems. The Royal Family spend most of their time working for the British state (representing them at global events, for example) or helping out charities (some would say their celebrity star power helps these causes raise more funds). They bring in some money to the UK by attracting tourists, although people disagree about how much money this actually is. They also pay tax themselves, including £343.5 million this year from the land and buildings they own.

So you could say that Harry and Megan’s refurbishing money was more like a tax rebate than a welfare payout. Of course, you could also say that because the UK is a democracy, the royal family has no business keeping hold of the land/buildings/wealth they acquired in the olden days of absolute monarchy, and they should turn the whole lot over to the British government.

Read our explainer on: taxes.

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Reader Comments

  • WhereAreTheVikings

    What a terrible, terrible shame. Western Civilization nurtured capitalism, and now capitalism is destroying it. And these young people seem to welcome the invasion of their homeland. The media and schools have been very efficient in wiping out all traces of blood and soil.

    • prollawalllynotahumanoid

      Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s corrupt politicians taking bribes and kickbacks from Globalists and the Chinese.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        Maybe I should have said crony capitalism. Although Italians importing Chinese to make “Italian leather” shoes is not crony capitalism. It is capitalism, pure and simple.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          That would be crony capitalism and globalism combined. They aren’t concerned with the affect their policies have upon their citizens, the health and welfare of their society and culture or their economy. What it isn’t is fair-free trade to further national interests.

          • WhereAreTheVikings

            I’ve always seen them as one and the same, but perhaps they need to be named individually, just to bring home the point.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        But now that travel is so easy and borders are virtually down through H1bs and the like, theoretically you can’t blame capitalists for the pursuit of cheaper labor, although I do heartily blame them not being more patriotic than that. Perhaps the emerging nationalism will force them to voluntarily do what they should have morally been doing all along, and that is employing business practices that preserve their countries and nationalities. The government should be doing everything it can to encourage that, to the extent that small government should do anything but guard the borders and strictly, drastically, limit immigration.

      • Henry Lam

        It is China with its corrupted mindset affecting the world.

        • prollawalllynotahumanoid

          No it is not. Capitalism is the fairest and least corrupt system of all.

          Socialism and communism is based on authoritarianism, coercion and police intimidation. It has and always will be rife with criminality, bribes and kickbacks.

          Corruption can be anywhere but it is the very basis of socialism and communism.

    • Henry Lam

      The government is too weak. They do not understand the mindset of communists and how they educate their people. Those communist people are only loyal to their country and could be dangerous. The immigration law should only accept those who accepted multiculturalism and taught from a democratic education system. This virus events clearly has shown how stupid to take China as a friend.

      • WhereAreTheVikings

        The government is not too weak. Just weak-minded about some things.

  • Gabi Rodrigues

    For how many days can a country maximum close their borders to foreigners maximum? Like now, with the virus, everyone is using 30 days. Can it be more?