UK

Duchy of Cornwall And Crown Estate 'Given Over £200,000 In Benefit Payments'

25/02/2014 12:12 GMT | Updated 25/02/2014 13:59 GMT

Buckingham Palace has been described as "the biggest council house in Britain" as it was revealed Prince Charles and the Queen received thousands in benefits last year, according to a report.

The Duchy of Cornwall estate and the Crown Estate received a total of more than £200,000 in housing benefit payments for their tenants last year, it has been claimed.

prince charles

Campaigners have now called for regulation of the amount of housing benefit that is paid to landlords, saying the money was helping them to "grow their property empires" rather than helping poor people.

The Crown Estate was paid £38,539 in housing benefit payments by just one council last year, while the Duchy of Cornwall received at least £163,000, according to the Daily Mirror.

Defend Council Housing, a campaign group, described Buckingham Palace as "the biggest council house in Britain" and called for a cap on housing benefits for landlords.

“We should be regulating the amount of rent we pay to landlords like him and if the Duchy of Cornwall paid its fair share of taxes we could use the money to build new high quality council housing for the benefit of the nation,” Eileen Short, a spokeswoman for the group, said.

A spokeswoman for the group said more than £9bn will be paid this year to private landlords, adding that "taxpayers’ money is being used to line the pockets of wealthy landlords and ­property speculators.”

But Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has rejected a cap on landlord's housing benefit payments, saying: "I suspect you would end up with fewer landlords actually making properties available."

The Crown Estate said: “Our properties are let to a range of tenants including residents who may receive housing benefit. As with any landlord, there are some cases where tenants receive housing benefit and the rent is paid directly by the local authority from the tenant’s benefit to the landlord.

"All of The Crown Estate’s profits are returned to the Treasury each year for the benefit of the nation’s public finances.”

The revelations come a day after Britain’s richest MP, Tory Richard Benyon, was revealed to be earning thousands of pounds last year in housing benefits from his tenants.