Still no clear picture of cost of royalty

The prime minister’s office – the ministry of general affairs – is to take charge of spending on the royal household from January 1, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende told MPs on Monday evening.

From next year, all costs must be cleared through the prime minister. At the moment, spending is spread across seven different ministries with no-one in charge of the overall budget.
Balkenende was speaking during a debate on the cost of the royal family to taxpayers.
MPs said it was shocking that no-one knew the exact costs of maintaining the royal family. ‘Even the queen has complained about it,’ said one Socialist Party MP, referring to comments made by queen Beatrix during her state visit to Lithuania last week.
Officially the royal household cost €114m last year, but a number of expenses are still unclear. And according to the Volkskrant, the queen’s household overspent its official budget by €650,000 – a shortfall ‘secretly’ covered by the home affairs ministry.
The prime minister also agreed to look at all the other benefits given to members of the royal household. ‘There are privileges which belong to another age,’ Alexander Pechtold, leader of the liberal democratic party D66 said. ‘For example, all the princes get free parking in
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