How Much Are We Actually Spending On The Platinum Jubilee?

The lavish celebration has been branded out of touch given the cost of living crisis – but is it really?
<strong>Troops rehearsing ahead of the Jubilee</strong>
Troops rehearsing ahead of the Jubilee
Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images

The Platinum Jubilee celebrations will ring in the Queen’s 70 years on the throne, but just how much money will we, as a country, be spending on it?

The bank holiday also comes at a particularly difficult time for many households, with the current cost of living crisis squeezing everyone’s budgets.

So, here’s a breakdown of all the costs and along with an estimate of just how much money it will bring in.

How much are we spending?

Money from the taxpayer

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has funnelled £28 million of taxpayers’ money into the celebrations, according to the March 2021 budget.

The government has promised a “once-in-a-generation show” mixing “the best of British ceremonial splendour and pageantry with cutting-edge artistic and technological displays” to honour the occasion. This includes the Queen’s birthday parade (Trooping The Colour), the £15 million Platinum Jubilee Pageant and the BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace.

This money has also been split among several different projects, including the £3 million fund to support village hall improvement projects for over 100 different venues.

The government is pumping £12 million into new books for primary school children called ‘Queen Elizabeth: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration’ too, although it’s not clear if this part of the £28 million announced by Sunak or an additional fund.

While this may seem like a large amount, for comparison, Sunak recently announced a much heftier £22 billion towards helping with the astronomical energy bills – on top of the previous £15 billion fund.

Input from charities

On a more local level, charities have stepped up to contribute to the special occasion so that communities can mark the Jubilee. Here’s a breakdown of the main foundations taking part, according to the government’s official Jubilee page.

  • National Lottery Community Fund’s platinum jubilee fund is offering grants of up to £50,000 to 70 community projects

  • There are £10,000 grants being offered in the National Lottery Awards for All programme for all 2022 events

  • Arts Council Englands is offering grants up to £10,000

  • The Arts Council has announced £175,000 towards libraries, to help them celebrate

  • UK National Archive is offering £30,000 to help the archive sector honour the Queen

  • National Lottery Heritage £7 million fund to help natural green spaces flourish

What about the subsequent economic boost?

One of the most well-known arguments for keeping the Royal Family is how much money they bring in – and with a celebration of this magnitude, it’s expected to be profitable.

According to VisitEngland, the Jubilee weekend may bring in up to £1.2 billion to the economy which would significantly counteract the amount spent on it.

Consumers are expected to spend £408 million over the four-day weekend, with £281.5 million alone going on souvenirs, memorabilia and gifts, the Centre for Retail Research claimed.

VisitEngland also claimed 5.3 million people plan to take an overnight break during the bank holiday weekend, offering a boost to hotels and B&Bs through domestic tourism.

More than 12 million people also plan to take part in the celebrations – this includes eating out, street parties and watching events on outdoor screens, while licensing hours will be relaxed and extended until 1am, which will boost sales.

However, estimates can also be offset by the weather, consumer confidence, business confidence, domestic and international tourism, as the government pointed out in its own assessment.

According to VisitEngland’s domestic trip tracker, 30% of UK adults are also waiting to see if they will be able to afford celebrating.

So, what is the net outcome?

These optimistic predictions would suggest that the profits will far outweigh the amount spent.

However, the department for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS)’s impact assessment for the extended weekend suggested otherwise.

It notes that the 2002 Golden Jubilee saw GDP as a whole drop by 2.2% month-on-month, and the 2012 Diamond Jubilee saw a 1.5% drop in monthly GDP. Prior to the pandemic, these were the two largest monthly decreases since 1997.

This comes down to the extended four-day bank holiday, which reduces output temporarily and sees the majority of businesses close for the celebration.

And that’s not all. In its summary, the DCMS claimed: “A best estimate for the final monetised impact is -£2.39 billion net present value for a Platinum Jubilee bank holiday in 2022.

“While the upper bound net present value is estimated to be -£2.21 billion, the lower bound net present value is estimated to be -£2.57 billion.”

The impact assessment was published in April 2021, before the cost of living crisis really started to bite in April this year. Such financial difficulties where millions of UK adults have admitted to skipping a meal at least once a day may reduce the amount consumers are willing to spend over the bank holiday.

In an optimistic twist, the DMCS did predict there would be a “bounce-back” effect in the next quarter after the celebratory weekend, “as has been observed in previous Jubilee years”.

The report then emphasised: “It is therefore important to consider the impact of the bank holiday on output over both Q2 and Q3 for 2022 rather than the impacts on monthly GDP.”

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