Royal Family spending reaches new record

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1st July 2022

Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
Good morning Can you believe it, we’re halfway through 2022 already. If you’re looking for ideas on how to navigate the rest of the year in a productive and healthy way then check out this guide.
Today's stories
  • Royal Family spending reaches new record
  • British Gen Z fintech app reaches $500m valuation
Royal Family spending reaches new record 

What happened?
Figures released yesterday showed that the maintenance of the Royal Family cost £102.4m in the 12 months to March, nearly £15m more than the year before.

The upkeep on a royal household is not cheap. In fact, it’s getting more expensive. Royal spending has risen for the past four years — despite the pandemic and national lockdowns.

Housekeeping and hospitality costs went up by 55%, with travel expenses also increasing by about 40% to £4.5m as Covid restrictions eased. But by far the biggest cost was from the 10-year project to renovate Buckingham Palace, this totalled £54.6m, an increase of 41% in the year. 

There are two main sources of income for the Royal Family:
  • The Sovereign Grant which comes from the government and is funded by taxes. This remained steady at £86.3m or an average of £1.29 per taxpayer.
  • The Queen’s personal wealth which includes  a private estate called the Duchy of Lancaster and palaces and castles such as Sandringham and Balmoral which generate revenue from visitors.
Millions of Brits enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last month and the events generated billions of pounds for the UK’s struggling hospitality industry. And though Buckingham Palace has welcomed more visitors in the past year, the numbers are still not back up to pre-pandemic levels, which has accounted for additional lost revenue.

Zooming out: with the nation now facing a cost-of-living crisis, the spending of the Royal Family is likely to face more scrutiny. 
Other stories to keep you in the loop
  • UK business confidence at 15-month low as cost of living crisis bites
  • Post Office scandal victims to get more money
  • City braces for summer jobs cull as new London stock market floats dry up
  • Barclays gives 35,000 staff a £1200 pay boost to help with cost of living
  • Bulb boss to step down from collapsed energy firm
  • Bitcoin set for worst quarterly drop in a decade
  • Amazon nears £1.5bn deal for Champions League rights in the UK
British Gen Z fintech app reaches $500m valuation
Yesterday Cleo, the British personal finance app aimed at Gen Z, announced it had raised $80m at a $500m valuation.

Founded in 2016, the London based app offers users financial advice without jargon and with a tone of voice suited to its under-25-year-old audience. The aim is to build better money habits throughout their financial lives, “from their first paycheque to their first home”.

It now has over 4m users and annual recurring revenue of $30m.

Despite being a British, Cleo’s core market is the US where it launched in 2019. The company believes the market opportunity is bigger across the pond as it wants to “displace traditional US financial services providers that make excessive profits by charging customers unfair and unnecessary fees”.

Tech valuations in the public and private markets have been bruised this year as investor confidence has dropped amid fears of a global economic downturn.

So Cleo has done well to reach a valuation of $500m – almost 5x the level of the last fundraise in 2020. Sources say that the company's high growth rates and low cashburn level helped it convince investors to back it at a higher valuation.

The investment will go towards Cleo’s continued US growth, including expanding its headcount from 140 to more than 220.
Stat of the day

The number of people paying 40% or 45% tax (higher and additional rate taxpayers) has risen from 4.25m to more than 6.1m workers since 2019
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