Rishi Sunak baffles MP with claims Universal Credit is 'generous'
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The 40-year old former Goldman Sachs investment banker is worth hundreds of millions of pounds, while his wife is even richer. As Britons battle for every penny, many believe he is now completely out of touch.
The MP for Richmond earns a base salary of £79,468 a year, with his Chancellor’s salary of £71,090 hiking the total to £150,558.
That would be riches for most people, but is only a small part of his overall wealth. As we previously reported, Sunak has a total net wealth of £200 million, mostly from his portfolio of property investments.
Wife Akshata Murthy has shares in her father’s firm Infosys worth £430 million, while an investigation by The Guardian found his wife’s family has a “multi-million-pound portfolio of shareholdings and directorships”.
Claims that the couple haven’t declared these correctly as required by the ministerial code have been rejected, but that wealth still spells political trouble for the ambitious Chancellor.
Being wealthy wasn’t a problem when Sunak was showering the nation with £400 billion of pandemic support during Covid lockdowns.
His easy manner combined with easy money made a potent political cocktail. Voters warmed to Sunak, because they felt he was looking after them.
That warmth is rapidly cooling, as the cost of living rockets and the Chancellor is suddenly forced to make some tough decisions.
Tomorrow, Sunak will get the blame for the worst-timed tax increases in history, when the thresholds for income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and the pensions lifetime allowance are frozen again.
That will drag more people into the tax net, as inflation and wages rise.
The £12 billion a year National Insurance hike, which is also due to come into force tomorrow, will add to the financial squeeze.
The decision to scrap the temporary £20 universal credit Covid uplift will hit the poorest Britons hard.
Sunak thought he might win us over with last month’s Spring statement mini-budget, when he announced a 5p cut to fuel duty, a rise in the NI insurance threshold and the promise of an income tax cut in two years’ time.
Instead it triggered a massive political backlash, with many critics using his wealth as a stick to beat him with.
Express.co.uk readers who are battling to make ends meet are focusing their frustrations on the Chancellor’s wealth.
Reader Ragnarok asked: “How on earth can we expect any sympathetic assistance for pensioners when Rich-i (sorry, Rishi) Sunak, the richest MP with a millionaire wife and family, will have no idea whatsoever what living on a State Pension amounts to.”
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Ragnarok said his State Pension will increase by just £5.31 a week this year, after Sunak downgraded the triple lock. “Does anyone seriously think that he [Sunak] has any idea of the value of £5 per week?”
Reader swingsandroundabouts had a swift answer to that saying: “As long as Sunak’s money continues to burn a hole in his pocket, he’s not bothered.”
Another reader, SpocksBeard, also zoomed in on the Chancellor’s wealth, claiming that “his shirts cost more than we get a month”.
She added: “My husband is getting a whole £1.65 extra a week on his Personal Independence Payment (PIP). I am getting under two quid on my pension.”
These reader sentiments are increasingly common, and even pop up under articles that have nothing to do with Rishi Sunak at all.
That’s how angry people are right now. In more prosperous times, voters might be happy to overlook Sunak’s personal financial success.
That’s not the case today.
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