Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Lay Off Prince Charles

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is lashing out at the Royal Family yet again. This time, Prince Charles is being criticized for managing the Duchy of Cornwall, the estate which provides his main income. As ever the tax issues involved are complicated (we do have a Labour Chancellor at Her Majesty's Treasury!) and too complex for me, as a normal person, to understand.

But what I do understand is this: Prince Charles is a devoted and dedicated philanthropist and a pillar of our society. In 2004, he helped to raise £109m for charity. He is the President of the Prince's Charities, an organization which comprises the Prince's Trust, the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, PRIME and PRIME Cymru, the Prince's Drawing School, the Prince's School of Traditional Arts, the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, the Prince's Regeneration Trust, Business and the Community, Scottish Business in the Community, the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum, the Prince of Wales's Business & The Environment Programme, In Kind Direct, Arts and Business and the Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation. He serves as the Patron or President of around 360 different organisations, including ActionAid, Help the Aged and the Royal Academy Trust. What's more, he already pays income tax voluntarily on what he earns.

For a group of MPs to take a swipe at the Prince of Wales about the danger of his role leading to a 'potential conflict of interest' (not even a real, concrete one yet!) is unbecoming of them. The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate, and under the Prince's control it has appreciated in value by 80 per cent in the last six years alone. He already pays hefty taxation on the estate, but many want him to pay even more, despite the fact that the Prince's money goes much further in his hands than it ever would if it were in the Exchequer's.

Prince Charles deserves far more credit than he receives. He is a dedicated philanthropist, a capable leader and a vital cornerstone of the society in which we live.

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