“Billionaires should pay their own way. The King should pay for his own coronation – or better yet, in a 21st century democracy we should not be crowning anyone at all.”
By Patrick Foley
The coronation of the new king is nearly here – at an estimated cost of £50-100 million to the public.
As Richard Burgon asked in the House of Commons last week – “a new poll shows that 51% of people think the coronation should not be publicly funded, just 32% think it should.”
“Given the report today that the King has a reported personal fortune of £1.8bn, and given the monarch already benefits from not paying inheritance tax, it’s easy to see why so many people are not happy with this. So could we have a debate about the levels of public money being spent on the coronation, especially given the incredibly difficult economic situation that so many people are in?”
Burgon is right to ask. After tax – which the King is notably not required to pay – we calculate it would take the average wage earner 73,582 years to earn as much as Charles has in the bank. As the queues for food banks grow longer and workers across the country face pay cuts and eroding working conditions, many will rightly ask why tax payers should stump up for the King’s coronation. Certainly the poll by Republic, cited by the MP for Leeds East, shows that the majority of people think he should pay for it himself.
Lord Ashcroft’s recent poll across the UK and the Commonwealth suggested similarly, showing a clear majority of people were in favour of scaling back spending on the royal family – including 58% who identified as pro-monarchy. Currently the King is not required to pay any tax – meaning he paid none on his inheritance from his mother, the queen – and receives a taxpayer funded Sovereign Grant of £86.3 million.
It is bad enough that – as many struggle to pay rocketing bills or put food on the table for their families – we are asked to pledge our allegiance to an unelected patriarch after watching him traipse about in a golden coach, robe, and crown. But it’s offensive that we should have to foot the bill, too.
Billionaires should pay their own way. The King should pay for his own coronation – or better yet, in a 21st century democracy we should not be crowning anyone at all.
- Patrick Foley is an organiser for Arise: A Festival Of Left Ideas and on the editorial team of Labour Outlook.
- You can read more analysis ahead of the coronation on Labour Outlook, Labour Peer Pauline Bryan has written on what the coronation exposes about our “dysfunctional” constitution.
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