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Queen 'costs taxpayers 62p'

The Queen costs every British taxpayer 62 pence a year, according to new figures released by Buckingham Palace.Royal officials said the annual cost per person of funding the monarch was unchanged from the previous year.Overall the Queen's expenditure fell by 0.3 per cent in 2006/07 to total £37.3 million, Buckingham Palace confirmed in its annual report on the royal finances.It added that public expenditure on the monarchy had decreased in real terms by seven per cent since 2001.The reduction in the amount of head of state expenditure reflects the continuous attention the royal household pays to obtaining the best value for money in all areas of expenditure," said Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse.He added that a real decrease in expenditure of 2.7 per cent had been achieved over the year as a result of a reduction in refurbishment costs at Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official Scottish residence.Nonetheless Sir Alan stressed that the savings had been largely offset by the increased cost of dealing with a growing number of freedom of information enquiries.The Queen's representative also claimed that there was a "critical backlog" of maintenance projects waiting to be carried out on the monarch's properties as a result of a lack of government cash.He suggested that grant-in-aid provided by the state to cover such needs had fallen by 69 per cent in real terms since the existing allocation was set in 1991 and argued it was "essential" that a further £1 million a year be provided if royal buildings were to remain safe.Meanwhile the Queen's staff have been inspired to cut carbon emissions following the example set by her son the Prince of Wales. According to figures released by Clarence House earlier this week the prince reduced his carbon foot print last year, but spent more taxpayers' money on official travel by air and rail.Last year the royal household achieved a 12 per cent cut in carbon emissions on gas and electricity as a result of lower energy consumption and the installation of a new combined heat and power plant at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace said.

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