Q: Should we have State visits and why do taxpayers fund State visits? What are the implications of such visits?
A: We should of course have state visits. This is essential to fostering and cementing relationships between nations. It is also important to maintain and further promote existing relationships and partnerships between two friendly and allied countries. No one is a better representative for this nation than HM The Queen and as The Queen, politicians from around the world aspire to be received at Buckingham Palace. A domestic politician, but more so for a foreign politician and Head of State, always know they have made it when they have a Royal seal of approval, either through a state visit, a private visit or a relaxed meeting with The Queen such as President Trumps last visit where he took tea with Her Majesty.
The only public funding which is of cost to the British taxpayer for State visits are the security aspects of States visits. Foreign Heads of State visiting the UK will have their own security detail both in sight around them and undercover, however this expense is paid for by the visiting country. Our own expense will be to cover the security of The Queen and those around her as we do when The Queen receives any foreign Head of State at Horseguards Parade and travels to Buckingham Palace via carriage. This includes undercover officers, snipers and other forms of security details both visible and invisible. The cost for dining, entertainments etc., during a State visit are met by the Sovereign Support Grant and sometimes from The Privy Purse (Queen’s private money), which ae not public funds.
These funds (SSG) are generated by the Crown Estate and not by the tax generating practices of the government, therefore no tax dollars are paying for state receptions etc. The Crown Estate is not owned by the public or by the state, it is owned by The Crown. The Sovereign Support Grant (SSG) is provided for official expenditure of The Palace, from which entertaining, state dinners etc., are paid for by this means. Though the payment of the SSG is made from HM Treasury, the Crown Estate has paid in over £300m this past year for £45m to be returned in the form of the SSG. The surplus of the funds given by the Crown Estate to HM Treasury, are used by the government for the betterment of the nation. The Privy Purse fund is derived from profits of Her Majesty’s private land portfolios and investments, which are sometimes met by and used to offset official expenditures.