‘Out of touch’ Rishi Sunak ‘pays £10,000’ for private helicopter trip to Tory dinner

Chancellor shells out of his own pocket for return trip to Wales

Chiara Giordano
Thursday 26 May 2022 18:11
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<p>Chancellor Rishi Sunak branded ‘out of touch’ after reportedly paying £10,000 to fly by private helicopter to Tory dinner in Wales</p>

Chancellor Rishi Sunak branded ‘out of touch’ after reportedly paying £10,000 to fly by private helicopter to Tory dinner in Wales

Rishi Sunak has been branded “out of touch” after reportedly paying more than £10,000 to fly by private helicopter to a Tory dinner in Wales.

The chancellor is said to have shelled out of his own pocket for the round-trip from Battersea heliport in London to the Conservative conference event in Newtown, Powys, at the weekend.

Labour has called Mr Sunak “out of touch” with ordinary voters, with shadow financial secretary James Murray saying he should “start paying attention to the problem most families face – soaring bills and rising prices”.

Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty just this week made the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time with their joint £730m fortune.

Last month, The Independent revealed how Ms Murty claimed non-domicile status in order to save on her tax bill.

Ms Murty, whose family business is estimated to be worth around £3.5bn, continued to use the valuable tax status even after Mr Sunak was put in charge of setting taxes for the country in February 2020.

It is not known exactly how much has been saved by Ms Murty but sources told The Independent it could have saved her millions of pounds in tax on foreign earnings over several years.

Ms Murty later announced she would pay UK taxes on her overseas income – but insisted the contentious non-dom arrangement had been “entirely legal”.

And just last week Mr Sunak claimed there was nothing the government could do to stop rising inflation impacting Britain’s families, as it rose to 9 per cent for the first time in 40 years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy

Sources inside the Treasury reportedly told the Mirror Mr Sunak took part in a Q&A with former Tory leader William Hague ahead of the dinner in Powys.

He is said to have travelled by helicopter to save time.

Shadow financial secretary James Murray told the newspaper: "Flying to and from Wales for dinner speaks volumes about how out of touch this chancellor is.

"If he's that wasteful with his own money, it's no wonder he treats the public finances as carelessly as he does."

Labour also claimed the chancellor would not have needed to fly by helicopter to the Welsh Conservative Party conference if Wales had its fair share of HS2 cash.

Shadow Wales minister Gerald Jones said: “Perhaps if the government had given Wales a fair settlement to upgrade its railways, the chancellor wouldn’t have to fork out £10,000 for a helicopter to make a round trip from London to Powys.

“When is the secretary of state going to use his position at the cabinet table to ensure that his government coughs up?”

Wales secretary Simon Hart said the UK government had invested £340m in Wales’ rail infrastructure, adding: “I think that he underestimates and he undervalues the investments that we are already making.”

A spokesperson for the chancellor said: “The chancellor looks to minimise the amount of time he spends travelling so that he can spend as much time as possible focusing on delivering for the British people.

“There was no cost to the taxpayer.”

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