Rishi Sunak ‘pays to upgrade electricity grid to heat his private pool’

PM had local network expanded to accommodate heated pool at his Yorkshire manor house

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Sunday 12 March 2023 17:38 GMT
Rishi Sunak meets Emmanuel Macron in Paris for talks on Channel migrant crossings

Rishi Sunak is believed to have paid for his local electricity network to be upgraded so it can accommodate a private heated swimming pool at his home.

Reports of the upgrade come as MPs raised concerns that soaring energy bills have led to the closure or reduction in opening hours at an estimated 350 public swimming pools.

The construction of the prime minister’s pool at his home in Richmond, north Yorkshire, involved extra equipment to boost capacity from the national grid, according to The Guardian.

Mr Sunak will have to pay tens of thousands of pounds for the upgrade work connecting the pool at the grade II-listed Georgian manor in his constituency, the newspaper reported.

It is understood he has paid for the extra capacity personally and there is no suggestion of special treatment. Firms can pay to upgrade their local grid during the construction of new buildings.

The PM’s Richmond manor house, reportedly purchased for £1.5m, is one of several homes owned by Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty, who also have property in the US.

A major expansion on the grounds of his Yorkshire manor – to include a swimming pool, hot tub, tennis courts and gym complex – was granted planning permission in 2021.

But the attempt to have the extension in keeping with surrounding buildings was not entirely welcomed by Hambleton District Council. Councillor John Noone said: “It doesn’t look like an agricultural building to me, it looks like a rather large bungalow.”

MPs on the cross-party culture select committee have urged chancellor Jeremy Hunt to help public swimming pools with energy costs in Wednesday’s Budget – warning 350 pools have closed or cut their hours.

Senior Tory Damian Green MP, acting committee chair, said: “Ahead of next week’s Budget, now is the time for the government to acknowledge the particular needs of swimming pools and to set out how they can receive the support they need to survive.”

He added: “Without financial help, many pools face the prospect of closure, which will inevitably have a bad impact on the health and wellbeing of the nation.”

No 10 declined to comment on the swimming pool works at the prime minister’s constituency home.

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