Today’s big question

How much did the Platinum Jubilee festivities cost?

Millions of pounds spent on celebrations by taxpayers, National Lottery and event sponsors

Even before the bunting was unfurled and the street party tables were laid, some had questioned whether the Platinum Jubilee celebrations were worth the expense.

There had been some confusion on social media as to exactly how much the festivities would cost UK taxpayers, with Full Fact clarifying that miscalculations had severely overestimated the amount. But how much did it cost?

Government funding

Rishi Sunak set aside £28m to fund the festivities in last year’s budget. “Such a sum may be a lot for individuals, but is peanuts for governments,” said The Times. The amount would “run the NHS for about two hours”, and worked out to be around £1 per household. 

The £28m was “divided accordingly”, said The Mirror, with some allocated to “help revamp venues” such as village halls. The Department for Education spent £12m on the publication of a commemorative book for primary school children in the UK. Highlighting milestones and achievements of the Queen’s 70-year reign, the book’s cost amounted to around £3 per pupil.

Additional expenses

The Metropolitan Police said that the costs of policing during the event would only be known afterwards, but there were also increased night patrols across the country, “creating a highly visible presence” during the celebrations, said Yahoo Finance. Individual councils also spent money on their own celebrations, including the beacon lighting that took place on Thursday. 

The National Lottery also made £22m available for communities across England, with 70 community projects receiving grants of up to £50,000. Arts Council England’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund also issued grants of up to £10,000 to make sure creative and cultural activities took “centre stage” during the celebrations, said The Independent. Another £175,000 was also distributed to local libraries. 

Balance sheet

The “crown jewel” of the weekend’s celebrations was the Jubilee Pageant, said The Times, a display expected to cost around £15m. The event, which The Times said featured a “surreal image of a hologram Queen”, was organised by the Platinum Jubilee Pageant Ltd, which the paper said had been “independently fundraising to deliver the pageant at no cost to the taxpayer”. Sponsors including Burberry, Jaguar and Meta provided some of the funding. 

While the total bill for the celebrations would “be barely noticed on the public balance sheet”, The Times said that “the entire country not working for an extra day” would. An impact assessment published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in February indicated that the additional jubilee bank holiday could cost the economy around £2.39bn.

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