20 November 2010

The release of government spending is an excellent decision by the Tory Libdem government. Two payments stand out.

The duchy of Cornwall was paid £667 134 by the ministry of justice for renting the land on which Dartmoor prison stands and £677 000 by the army for using Dartmoor for military training.

The duchy of Cornwall owns much of Dartmoor.

The duchy is not delimited by or coterminous with the county of Cornwall and never has been and it has always owned property outside Cornwall; it presently owns about 54 000 hectares in twenty three counties (official duchy website). The duchy is not an independent, sovereign entity outside England, a crown dependency or extraterritorial whimsy; it is a private estate. It was established in 1337 and the charters which deal with the creation of it refer to the income-generating properties and the offices of the dukedom, including estates outside Cornwall, indicating that the major purpose of the duchy was to provide a fitting income for the duke, the heir to the throne, not the establishment or acknowledgement of Cornwall as a territory separate from the rest of England; and refer to Cornwall as a county using the very same Latin word (comitatus, ‘county’) to describe Cornwall as the other counties mentioned in the charters such as Devon, Surrey, and Hertford.

The data about government spending by various ministries is most easily accessible here. I cannot see the army data on the website but it appears on this BBC site. The figures appear to refer to several months not a whole year.