OTR Interviews

Will William and Kate's Wedding Give the U.K. a Royal Stimulus?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is the royal wedding a blessing for the British economy? From the tourism industry to the royal couple trinkets, businesses of all sighs are trying to cash in. But is there reason for concern? Earlier today, we caught up with "New York Times" reporter Julie Werdigier.

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VAN SUSTEREN: Is this wedding a stimulus package for the U.K.?

JULIE WERDIGIER, "NEW YORK TIMES": The government would love it to be a stimulus package. When the engagement was announced the prime minister said finally good news. Everyone can come together and celebrate. The initial predictions from the retail industry was it going to bring in something like 620 million pounds. Since then, the predictions have gone up. Everyone is trying to benefit from this event.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have they raised prices in anticipation of the wedding? Are we paying a premium on the hotels, a little more expensive?

WERDIGIER: Every about a third more expensive. Also the hotels have tried to come up with special packages, adding an afternoon tea and maybe a tour. Special rooms with views on to areas where the event will take place of course are more expensive.

VAN SUSTEREN: The space we are in, this huge construction site for the media across from Buckingham Palace, we are probably paying a pretty penny for that.

WERDIGIER: Exactly. As far as the British TV channels the ones broadcasting live are not allowed to have commercials and advertising in between. So they are not going to benefit from that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are people saying this is exciting we are glad the money is here or is it too commercial, because every time you turn around you see a picture of the couple? Are people offended by it or embrace it?

WERDIGIER: I was talking to someone yesterday who said I think something that a lot of people here feel, which is we don't know whether the country and the economy is going to benefit bottom line, because we have to remember, there's a public holiday that has been especially put in place for the wedding. So that is going to cost the economy.

VAN SUSTEREN: Every year?

WERDIGIER: No. This one year. So that is going to cost the economy. Some say up to five billion pounds you have to pay the employees, but they are not turning up for work. People use the Easter holiday and this long weekend to go on vacation. A taxi driver said there is no business.

I think people are feeling it might end up costing the economy something. But it is such a great event. It lifts spirits. We are stuck with it. So we might as well make the best out of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: I've seen people with unusual hats, that's fun. Everyone has some sort of -- something to represent the couple.

WERDIGIER: Absolutely. It is also important to note this is going to have an effect on retail going for. Once we know hot dress maker is and once we know what everyone else is going to wear, there's the cans of people will go out and buy and imitate what beam showed up in at the wedding.

VAN SUSTEREN: I saw a lot of indications of foreigners here people who traveled here, I saw Canadian flags. The Canadians are proud of this wedding. It is bringing in people from all over the world.

WERDIGIER: Yes. I've seen some Australians coming here. It is an interesting mick.

VAN SUSTEREN: How is the U.K. doing generally, economically?

WERDIGIER: It's an interesting point that you're making. The question is very important because actually the economy, the GDP figures that came out recently shows a small, tiny improvement in the economy, but it is still problematic.

So this wedding is takes place in the same month as the big austerity measures are starting to bite. So it is a bit problematic telling people enjoy the wedding, celebrate. But at the same time maybe the welfare state is going to be cut and maybe you are not going to be allowed to benefit from the same amount of money that you were able to do until now.

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