BUDGET CUTS

King to tighten belt as cutbacks affect Royal Household budget

Palace austerity drive put in place to cope with two-percent cut in public funding

The Royal Household is embarking on its own austerity drive after the government included a two-percent cut in its allocation in the draft 2012 state budget.

King Juan Carlos and his entourage will receive 8.2 million euros from the state this year, 170,000 euros less than last year.

The many cuts will be in personnel costs and spending on protocol and public relations. Sources close to the Royal Household said Wednesday that the reductions in salaries would be applied progressively so that they affected mostly those on higher wages. The remuneration of 11 top officials in the king's entourage are in the front line.

Sources said it had not been ruled out that the assignations of individual members of the Royal Family would also be cut.

The other areas where belt-tightening will be applied include official gifts, hotels used during trips and receptions to honor guests. Current spending on such items amounts to about 1.2 million euros.

The sources said the Royal Household was in talks with other institutions that assist the Royal Family in carrying out its duties, such as the Interior and Defense ministries, on austerity measures.

"We are prepared to tighten our belts as much as is possible, as much as the ministries tell us to," a spokesman for the Royal Household said. Part of the cuts would be at the Interior Ministry, he stated, since security arrangements no longer need to be as extensive as they have been in previous years.

After the breaking of the corruption scandal involving the king´s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, who has been accused by a judge of diverting public funds, last December the Royal Household took the unprecedented step of revealing the king’s salary for that year. The monarch received 292,752 euros from the state, including a personal paycheck of 140,519.

The Royal Household is embarking on its own austerity drive after the government included a two-percent cut in its allocation in the draft 2012 state budget.

King Juan Carlos and his entourage will receive 8.2 million euros from the state this year, 170,000 euros less than last year.

The many cuts will be in personnel costs and spending on protocol and public relations. Sources close to the Royal Household said Wednesday that the reductions in salaries would be applied progressively so that they affected mostly those on higher wages. The remuneration of 11 top officials in the king's entourage are in the front line.

Sources said it had not been ruled out that the assignations of individual members of the Royal Family would also be cut.

The other areas where belt-tightening will be applied include official gifts, hotels used during trips and receptions to honor guests. Current spending on such items amounts to about 1.2 million euros.

The sources said the Royal Household was in talks with other institutions that assist the Royal Family in carrying out its duties, such as the Interior and Defense ministries, on austerity measures.

"We are prepared to tighten our belts as much as is possible, as much as the ministries tell us to," a spokesman for the Royal Household said. Part of the cuts would be at the Interior Ministry, he stated, since security arrangements no longer need to be as extensive as they have been in previous years.

After the breaking of the corruption scandal involving the king´s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin, who has been accused by a judge of diverting public funds, last December the Royal Household took the unprecedented step of revealing the king’s salary for that year. The monarch received 292,752 euros from the state, including a personal paycheck of 140,519.