Fewer free flights for royals

Only queen Beatrix, crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima will be able to enjoy unlimited free air travel from now on, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende announced on Thursday evening during a debate on the royal finances.

MPs had called for curbs after it emerged 10 adult members of the royal household were entitled to free air travel, at a total cost to the tax payer of €610,000.
The total budget for the royal family is put at just under €40m for 2010, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday.
In addition, junior finance minister Jan Kees de Jager is to look at the tax-free status of the queen and her immediate family, the Volkskrant said. However, the queen and her direct heir will keep their tax free status, the paper said.

a TNS Nipo poll for a royalty tv show revealed 90% of the Dutch population think the royal family should pay tax.
But Willem-Alexander and Máxima are to press ahead with their involvement in a controversial luxury holiday home complex in Mozambique, the prime minister said. While the couple understand the ‘sensitivity’ of the project, they remain committed to it and it is ‘their responsibility’ to decide whether or not to pull out , Balkenende told MPs.
The prime minister himself came under fire from MPs for not doing enough to defend the royal family’s reputation. ‘With friends like you, who needs enemies?’ GroenLinks MP Ineke van Gent said.
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