How Rishi Sunak made his wealth

PM and wife Akshata Murty worth a reported £730m

Matt Mathers
Friday 27 January 2023 15:47 GMT
Rishi Sunak becomes UK’s third prime minister this year

Rishi Sunak entered Downing Street in October 2022 as Britain’s new prime minister after winning the latest Conservative Party leader battle, succeeding Liz Truss after her short but utterly disastrous reign.

Mr Sunak finds himself the UK’s first ever Hindu to hold the highest office in the land and the UK’s youngest PM since 1812.

He is also be one of the richest politicians to enter No 10.

According to The Sunday Times Rich List, Mr Sunak and his wife, Indian tech billionaire’s daughter Akshata Murty, are worth £730m.

The MP for Richmond in the Yorkshire Dales previously served as chancellor under Boris Johnson, meaning he has experience at the top levels of government.

He oversaw the government’s furlough scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic and drew up plans for the cost of living payments being given to people to help them cover sky-high energy, fuel and food prices.

Mr Sunak was first elected to Parliament just eight years ago in 2015 and his rise to the top has been swift.

He was promoted to the role of parliamentary undersecretary at the now-defunct Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government by Mr Johnson in 2019.

Just a year later, he got another promotion to chief secretary of the Treasury and was then made chancellor by Mr Johnson in 2020.

Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Sunak worked as an investment banker and it was his experience in the industry that qualified him for the role of overseeing the nation’s finances, in Mr Johnson’s opinion.

Ms Murthy, whom Mr Sunak married in 2009, is the daughter of NR Narayana Murthy, founder of the Indian multinational IT services company Infosys, who is worth an estimated £3.8bn. She is reported to have a £690m stake in the family firm.

While Mr Sunak and his wife have a combined worth of more than £700m, the PM made his own fortune while working in the City of London.

After studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, like so many politicians before him, Mr Sunak went on to work as an analyst for Goldman Sachs before joining a series of hedge funds.

In the speeches he has given since winning the latest leadership contest, Mr Sunak vowed to unify his divided party and warned of the “profound economic challenge” ahead.

He also paid tribute to his humiliated predecessor Ms Truss, telling the nation: “I would like to pay tribute to Liz Truss for her dedicated public service to the country.

”She has led with dignity and grace through a time of great change and under exceptionally difficult circumstances both at home and abroad.

”I am humbled and honoured to have the support of my parliamentary colleagues and to be elected as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

”It is the greatest privilege of my life to be able to serve the party I live and to give back to the country I owe so much to.”

One of the first real tests of his leadership came in January 2023 when it emerged that Conservative Party chairman Nadim Zahawi had been forced to settle a tax dispute with HMRC and received a costly fine during his own tenure.

That placed huge pressure on Mr Zahawi to resign, which he refused to do, prompting Mr Sunak to order an investigation, face accusations of being “weak” from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and inquiries from the press about whether he too had ever been forced to pay a tax fine.

After initially refusing to answer, saying he considered his personal tax affairs “confidential”, No 10 finally confirmed on Mr Sunak’s behalf that he had never been fined by HMRC, with chancellor Jeremy Hunt producing the same answer.

He has, however, twice received fixed-penalty notices from the police: once for breaking pandemic laws by attending a birthday party for Mr Johnson in No 10 and once for failing to wear a seatbelt in a moving car during a visit to Lancashire.

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