United Kingdom

Queen's property empire drops half a billion to £13.4bn because of coronavirus

The Queen's land and property empire has fallen in value by £552.5million after a sudden drop in rental income from shops hit by coronavirus lockdown.

Regents Street and St James's in London as well as retail parks across the country are included in the Crown Estates. 

It has been revalued at £13.4billion in annual results published today - after a tough year for retail sales, reported the Guardian.

Figures also showed a profit of £345million in the year up until March 31, when the UK went into a nationwide lockdown to try to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The Queen's crown estates have been revalued at £13.4billion in annual results published today - after a tough year for retail sales. Pictured, Queen Elizabeth on July 17

The early profit, which was up 0.4 per cent from last year, suggested the value of the estates would have risen if not for the impact of coronavirus.

All profits are handed to the Treasury which then passes 25 per cent of the funds back to the royal family in the form of the Sovereign Grant. 

But the difficult financial year has left the Crown Estate making staggered payments to the Treasury to ensure it has enough revenue reserves to support itself.

Regents Street and St James's in London as well as retail parks across the country are included in the Crown Estates. Pictured, Regents Street in London in March

The Crown Estates has so far collected 52 per cent of rents from retail tenants in central London and 53 per cent outside the capital this year.

The rental income from officers in central London in 88 per cent. 

Dan Labbad, the Crown Estate's chief executive, said the country's retail parks were slowly recovering.

'We've seen most of our retail and food and beverage come back and want to open where they are still trading.

The St James's area of Westminster is also included within the Crown Estates. Rental incomes have fallen as footfall stagnated amid lockdown

'There have been a number of CVAs [company voluntary arrangements] and administrations,' he said.

Company Voluntary Arrangements involve coming to an agreement over how best to settle debts. This could include paying only a proportion of the amount that a company owes to creditors. 

Its annual report reads: 'The current economic and market disruption has led us to take the precaution, with the agreement of the Treasury, of implementing a staged process for the payment of the whole of our net revenue profit. 

'As we cannot draw on our capital account to cover operating expenses, this step has been taken to ensure that we have sufficient revenue reserves given the current reduction in rental receipts. 

'Following a careful review of the viability and going concern position, of the £345.0 million net revenue profit, a first payment of £87.0 million was made to the Treasury on 21 July 2020, with further payments to follow as trading conditions develop. 

'Our resilient capital structure, established to operate in perpetuity and with no debt, gives us confidence that we can continue to invest for the long term.'

Mr Labbad said London's West End was 'slowly filling up again' following the Government's successful Eat Out To Help Out scheme. 

What land in the UK is owned by Crown Estates? 

The Crown Estates' income comes from rents paid by a number of retail outlets across the UK. Other funds may come from interests in agricultural land and forests.

Shopping centres owned by the crown include: 

The Crown Estate owns virtually all of the UK's seabed to the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit.

Holdings consist of around 116,000 hectares (287,000 acres) of agricultural land and forests, together with minerals and residential and commercial property.

In 2002 The Crown Estate started a £1 billion investment programme to improve Regent Street. They are also investing £500 million in St James's, including a number of major redevelopments.

Football news:

Manchester United won again in Paris with a late Rashford goal. An unexpected hero - a 22-year-old reservist who has not been on the field since December 2019
Jurgen Klopp: first Oliver didn't see the moment, then VAR forgot the rules. And the consequences came only for van Dijk and Tiago
Favre on the defeat against Lazio: Dortmund lacked determination. We needed to play an outstanding game, and we didn't
Lampard on 0:0 with Sevilla: I think both teams are happy with the draw
Tuchel Pro 1:2 with Manchester United: PSG were not on the pitch in the first half. One of the worst games of the team
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: When you go to a team with Neymar and Mbappe, you need to defend well, and the goalkeeper must help out
Barcelona have extended their contracts with Pique, Ter Stegen, Langle and de Jong