Sir Michael told the Commons Public Accounts Committee that he hopes some form of Royal Train will continue when the ‘serious study’ is carried out next year.
The move is despite a reduction in the cost of the train, whose current eight carriages date back to the 1950s and 1960s, since the Royal Household took over responsibility for the Royal Family’s travel costs in 1997 from £1.9 million a year to £600,000 p.a. in 2000.
Peat, who is soon to leave the Queen’s service to become private secretary to Prince Charles, told the committee the train is expensive but currently justified by the heavy use expected by the Queen touring the UK during her Jubilee Year.
He said experience of the train this year would inform the review and made it clear he hopes it will continue because it provides a more reliable alternative to helicopter travel for members of the Royal Household.
Sir Michael denied costs of using the RAF’s 32 Sqaudron for Royal travel by switching from full to variable costs in the books.
Peat also denied a claim by anti-royalist Swansea West Labour MP Alan Williams that private Royal use of the squadron’s planes was subsidised.
Glasgow Pollok Labour MP Ian Davidson said the change in charging for flights was ‘an outrageous example of creative accountancy’ – a charge the Ministry of Defence also rejected.
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