Duchy Revenue Increased by 4% During Last Financial Year

Hugh House the offices of the Duchy of Cornwall

Images of Scilly occupy the front and back of the Duchy of Cornwall annual accounts and report.

The organisation, which operates across 23 counties, has grown its revenue surplus, effectively a profit, by just under 4% to £18 million over the past year.

That’s down to financial investments and better performing land values due to recent increases in crop prices.

Around £21 million was received for property rental including homes and land. That income didn’t go up from 2010 and smaller tenants are experiencing tough market conditions which creates pressure within the commercial property arm of the business.

The report touches on the Duchy’s tourism businesses.

The Steval, the former gun battery, which was refurbished in August, is described as occupying one of the most beautiful and secluded locations on the islands. It has been nominated as one of Europe’s best villas by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine.

The £15,000 that the Duchy of Cornwall pays for its share in Island Marketing, the tourism promotion body that is also funded by travel operators and the Council, is  listed under charitable donations in the accounts.

Former Councillor Gordon Bilsborough says he is disturbed by the 18% increase in income to the Duchy from “grants-in-aid and government departments”, especially in these times of economic uncertainty.

He wants to have this detailed and justified.

But Gordon believes that the increase in the Prince’s private income from the Duchy since 2009, at less than 4%, is about the same as many other people’s income increased over the same period.

Richard McCarthy from the Duchy Tenants Association says he thinks Prince Charles’ travel bills went up significantly last year, particularly on foreign trips, but these are mostly done at the behest of the Government. He added, “the taxpayer picks up the tab but this latest increase is largely down to Gordon Brown and David Cameron.”

But Richard says that the 4% increase in Duchy income won’t surprise tenants. “The Duchy estate is a business” he told us, “and although many people’s pay on Scilly and elsewhere may have been frozen, by and large that hasn’t happened to Duchy rents.”