Queen costs taxpayer slightly more

The cost to the taxpayer of supporting the monarchy rose marginally during the last financial year, Buckingham Palace accounts show.

The Queen's official expenditure increased by £200,000 (0.6%) from £32.1 million in 2010/11 to £32.3 million in 2011/12, according to the royal public finances annual report.

Civil List funding, much of it used to pay the wages of her Royal Household staff, fell by £100,000 from £13.7 million to £13.6 million. The Government also provides money, known as grants-in-aid, to cover the areas of royal travel, property services and communications and information.

The taxpayer funds used to pay for official air and rail travel at home and abroad for members of the Royal Family increased by £100,000 from £6 million in 2010/11 to £6.1 million in 2011/12. There was also an increase in spending on property services - money used for the upkeep of royal residences and other buildings - from £11.9 million to £12.2 million. But the cost of running the Buckingham Palace press office, maintaining the official website and providing information to the public fell from £500,000 to £400,000.

Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: "When the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his plans for the public expenditure to reduce by 25% in real terms over a four-year period, the Queen was very keen that the Royal Household should play its part in reducing its expenditure accordingly. We are pleased to report that we have achieved this reduction a year ahead of the public expenditure target and managed to transfer £3.3 million to the Sovereign Grant reserve. The decrease in expenditure is due mainly to the continuation of a pay freeze, increased income generation, and the deferral of property maintenance expenditure. Expenditure during this Diamond Jubilee year will require the use of reserves as the first year of the Sovereign Grant provides for funding of only £31 million."

Around 70% of Civil List expenditure goes on the salaries of the Queen's staff, from footmen to chefs in the royal kitchen. Wages have been frozen for the last two years and the accounts showed that the money spent on salaries fell from £10.2 million to £10 million in 2011/12.

The Queen and the Royal Family cost the taxpayer 52p per person last year, the Buckingham Palace accounts showed. But the figure does not include the cost of providing security and police protection for members of the monarchy.

The most expensive bill for a single trip was for the Prince of Wales's official visit to Kuwait and Qatar last autumn and then on to South Africa and Tanzania when he was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall. The cost for the chartered flights was £460,387, but it is understood it would not have been possible to complete the tour by scheduled services.

The bill for the Duke of York's overseas visits as UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment came to just above £350,000. Andrew left the post in July last year following the intense scrutiny he faced over his relationships with a series of controversial figures, including a convicted paedophile. But he had a number of commitments he had to fulfil so continued travelling the globe as trade envoy.

The cost of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's flight home from California after a visit to the US state last summer came to £51,410. William and Kate and their adviser Sir David Manning were upgraded from business to first class seats on the scheduled British Airways flight.