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What royalty is worth to the UK

Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 03:19

May 31 - For the second year in a row, Britons are being given an extra holiday to celebrate a royal occasion, this time Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee which it's hoped will give a boost to the economy despite lost productivity. Matt Cowan reports.

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Sixty years in the job, and ready to party. Queen Elizabeth the second has been travelling around Britain for months, to mark her Diamond Jubilee. Celebrations will culminate in a four day extravaganza in London, including a concert at Buckingham Palace and a 1,000 ship pageant along the River Thames. For a nation that's being told to tighten its proverbial belt, it's quite a splash. Asset allocation specialist Justin Urquhart Stewart. SOUNDBITE:Justin Urquhart Stewart, Seven Investment Management Marketing Director saying (English): "Here you've got a fantastic marketing event. So how much does that cost? The answer is tens of millions." There is no official estimate for what the entire Diamond Jubilee string of celebrations will cost, but the UK treasury has budgeted an additional 1 million pounds for Royal Household expenses during the Jubilee year...and then there's the indirect cost. For the second year in a row, Britons are getting an additonal Bank Holiday to celebrate a royal occassion. SOUNDBITE:Justin Urquhart Stewart, Seven Investment Management Marketing Director saying (English): "This is actually bad for productivity on one level. Because if you actually take that we're working for 250 days per year and you take the gross domestic product of the country and knock one day off, it's several billion pounds gone. Knock two days off and you've just doubled it. Now against that you've got to take into account the positive attitude it creates because people enjoy these things...So, technically the GDP will go down. In reality you'll find more productivity." Many businesses are using the Jubilee as a marketing opportunity... For instance, the East India Company which was founded by the first Queen Elizabeth in 1600 is selling Jubilee Tea. SOUNDBITE: Sanjiv Mehta, CEO of East India Company saying (English) "The price for these tea caddies. 75 British pounds." Think that's pricey - the 'kilo' gold coin minted for the occasion has a price tag of 125 thousand pounds. That's over 190 thousand dollars. SOUNDBITE: Sanjiv Mehta, CEO of East India Company saying (English) "In our lifetime, 60 years of head of state in England is not going to come back. So we believe it's a momentous occasion." VisitBritain estimates the monarchy helps generate over 500 million pounds per year from overseas tourists, so while the Royal Family cost UK taxpayers an estimated 32 million pounds in 2011 there is a strong argument to suggest this represents value for money. Still. REPORTER asks "Do you have any sense if you were to take Buckingham Palace and turn it into condos, what it would fetch?|" SOUNDBITE:Justin Urquhart Stewart, Seven Investment Management Marketing Director saying (English): (LAUGHS) " If you imagine each condo here would go for round about two million and you could probably get 1000 condos going all the way back. So you're looking at about two billion here in terms of assets. So in terms of paying off some of the national debt, that's a very good idea." Not according to the Mayor of a place called Broxbourne, here for a garden party. SOUNDBITE: Eddie Rowland, Mayor of Broxbourne saying (English) "Look at the amount of tourists here. Amazing. Buckingham Palace is looking glorious. The Mall is looking glorious with the Union Flag flying. It's wonderful. It's not about money. It's about something that's special, for us. A lot of countries that got rid of their royal families are regretting it now." And he says, you can't put a value on the consistency of the Queen's reign. Matt Cowan, Reuters.

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What royalty is worth to the UK

Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 03:19