Rishi Sunak: Britain has moved on from judging people for being rich

PM says Labour criticism of family tax arrangements doesn’t bother him, as rich list shows he and his wife have lost £200m

Rishi Sunak has said he is “not bothered” by Labour’s criticism of his wealthy family’s tax arrangements and thinks the UK has “moved beyond” judging people on their money, as a new estimate said the UK prime minister’s fortune had fallen to around £500m.

Sunak, who is the wealthiest British prime minister ever on account of his wife’s shareholdings, said he did not pay attention to Labour’s personal attacks on his finances.

The new Sunday Times rich list estimated his family’s wealth had dropped by £200m in the past year because of a fall in the price of his wife’s shareholding.

It said Sunak, a former hedge fund manager, and his wife, Akshata Murty, had an estimated worth of about £529m, a fall from £730m in 2022.

Murty owns a small stake in Infosys, a $64bn (£52bn) Indian IT firm co-founded by her billionaire father. The value of that stake has fallen, driving the drop in the couple’s fortunes.

However, Sunak said people were not bothered by his wealth when reporters asked him if he gets upset by personal attacks on his family, such as Keir Starmer criticising him at prime minister’s questions for his wife’s non-dom tax status.

Labour has also accused Sunak of being out of touch with ordinary people because of his family wealth. One attack advert asks: “Do you think it’s right to raise taxes for working people when your family has benefited from a tax loophole? Rishi Sunak does.”

Speaking on the plane to the G7 summit in Japan, Sunak said: “I haven’t really actually focused on it or seen all of it. The bits at PMQs I probably hear but the rest of it I don’t. These things generally don’t worry me. I don’t think most people sitting at home actually are much bothered about these things either.

“What they care about is what am I doing for them to make their lives better. As I talked a lot about last summer, I think we’ve moved beyond judging people by what’s in their bank account.”

He added: “These things don’t bother me.”

Murty was at the centre of a political storm last year after it emerged she had potentially avoided up to £20m in UK tax by being non-domiciled, and paid £30,000 a year to keep the status.

With Sunak’s position under increasing threat, Murty bowed to pressure to say she would pay UK taxes on all income in future, after saying she realised many people felt her tax arrangements were not “compatible with my husband’s job as chancellor”. She added that she appreciated the “British sense of fairness”.

The couple first entered the Sunday Times rich list last year when Sunak was chancellor in Boris Johnson’s government, making him the first frontline politician to be named in the annual ranking since its inception in 1989.

When asked during the Tory leadership contest in August how he could relate to the public during a cost of living crisis, given that he was richer than the queen, Sunak said people should not hold his wealth against him.

“I think in our country, we judge people not by their bank account, we judge them by their character and their actions. And yes, I’m really fortunate to be in the situation I’m in now, but I wasn’t born like this,” Sunak told a leadership hustings event in Darlington.


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