Civil List


Civil List
(in Britain) the amount of money that parliament agrees to give every year to the king or queen to meet official expenses, such as allowances for other members of the Royal Family and wages for the royal household.
See also Privy Purse.

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▪ British government
      in the United Kingdom, the list of sums appropriated annually by Parliament to pay the expenses of the sovereign and his or her household. The sums are charged to the government's Consolidated Fund and audited by the treasury.

      The custom of the Civil List dates to 1689, when Parliament, on the accession of William and Mary, voted £600,000 specifically for civil expenses. Through the first Civil List Act in 1697, revenues estimated to yield about £700,000 were assigned to the monarch to cover civil and royal expenses. Previously these expenses had been paid entirely from the monarch's hereditary revenues and from certain taxes voted to the sovereign for life by Parliament.

      During the reign of George I, the Civil List became a fixed sum, with Parliament paying any debts that were incurred. For George II there were assigned revenues in addition to fixed grants and a guaranteed total of £800,000. George III made a political tool of his Civil List (at a fixed sum of £800,000), rewarding his supporters in Parliament with secret pensions and bribes. Parliament, in turn, sometimes used a sovereign's dependence on the Civil List as a means of persuading him to give up other income or powers. The Civil List Act of 1762, providing supervision of the account, prevented the amending of pensions. Reform in the 1780s prohibited secret pensions and provided for some parliamentary oversight.

      On his accession in 1820 George IV received an annual Civil List of £845,727. In 1830 the amount was reduced to £510,000 for William IV, but for the first time the account was intended to cover only royal expenditures. Further changes came during Queen Victoria's reign (1837–1901) when she was allowed to grant pensions, on the advice of her ministers, to persons who had achieved distinction in the arts, literature, or science or had given personal services to the crown—a custom that continued with her successors.

      Queen Elizabeth II received a Civil List of £475,000 when she came to the throne in 1952, but inflation affected the list over the years, and by the early 21st century the Civil List amounted to some £10 million annually. The bulk of the funds pays the salaries of the royal staff. The Civil List also includes direct payments to lesser royals who perform official functions. In the 1990s Elizabeth II agreed to further reforms, reducing the list by paying many expenses from her own income.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Civil list — List List, n. [AS. l[=i]st a list of cloth; akin to D. lijst, G. leiste, OHG. l[=i]sta, Icel. lista, listi, Sw. list, Dan. liste. In sense 5 from F. liste, of German origin, and thus ultimately the same word.] 1. A strip forming the woven border… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Civil list — Civil Civ il, a. [L. civilis, fr. civis citizen: cf. F. civil. See {City}.] 1. Pertaining to a city or state, or to a citizen in his relations to his fellow citizens or to the state; within the city or state. [1913 Webster] 2. Subject to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • civil list — in the constitutional law of the UK, money paid to certain members of the royal family. The monarch surrenders for life all hereditary revenues, with the exception of those of the duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, to form part of the… …   Law dictionary

  • civil list — n the civil list the sum of money given every year by Parliament to the King or Queen of Britain and members of their family …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Civil List — ► NOUN ▪ (in the UK) an annual allowance voted by Parliament for the royal family s household expenses …   English terms dictionary

  • Civil list — A civil list is a list of individuals to whom money is paid by the government. Contents 1 United Kingdom 1.1 History 1.2 Present day 2 Canada …   Wikipedia

  • Civil List — N PROPER: the N The Civil List is money paid by the state every year to members of the British Royal Family to cover their living expenses. She gets ₤230,000 from the Civil List …   English dictionary

  • civil list — list of government employees; money allocated to the monarch and royal family by Parliament …   English contemporary dictionary

  • civil list — /ˈsɪvəl lɪst/ (say sivuhl list) noun British the provision of money by Parliament for the monarch and the monarch s household …   Australian English dictionary

  • CIVIL LIST —    the yearly sum granted by the Parliament of England at the commencement of each reign for the support of the royal household, and to maintain the dignity of the Crown: it amounts now to £385,000 …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia