Amid the festivities of Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee in the United Kingdom, misleading social media posts have been circulating concerning the cost of the event.
The UK government has promised to host a “once-in-a-generation show” to celebrate the occasion, but hundreds of social media users have asked the question: How much does the celebration of the Queen's 70 years on the throne really cost taxpayers?
Some have expressed anger and disdain that taxpayer money is being spent on the celebration, especially after the UK economy has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war.
A number of users on Twitter and Facebook have claimed over the past week that the Jubilee will cost approximately £1 billion in total or around £38,000 per UK household.
But according to Office for National Statistics, there were 27.8 million households in the UK in 2020 and 32 million taxpayers. Dividing £1 billion by that number it comes out to just over £30 each, not £38,000.
Although we don’t yet have reliable figures for the total cost of the event, there is no indication that it will be anything close to £1 billion.
In May 2021, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that around £28 million would be earmarked for the jubilee. This number was then repeated by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his announcement of last year’s budget.
It's also important to note that some of this £28 million will be borne by partner organisations rather than paid for entirely by the taxpayer.
UK government does estimate billions of losses in productivity
This price tag of £1 billion for the Queen’s Jubilee has already been mentioned but not in that context.
In 2012, the government estimated that the Queen’s diamond jubilee, to celebrate 60 years on the throne, would cost the UK economy approximately £1 billion.
However, this does not simply refer to the celebrations but encompasses the cost of the two extra days of bank holidays when most people will not be working.
For this year’s jubilee in 2022, the UK government estimates a net loss in productivity of £2.3 billion. At the same time, however,the Centre for Retail Research predicts that consumers will spend £408 million over the four-day weekend, potentially balancing some of the economic loss.