Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty make Sunday Times Rich List with £730m fortune

Chancellor becomes first frontline politician to join the rich list

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Friday 20 May 2022 07:27
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy (Ian West/PA)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy (Ian West/PA)

Rishi Sunak has become the first frontline politician to appear in the Sunday Times Rich List alongside his wife, Akshata Murty, with their joint £730m fortune.

It comes just days after the chancellor said the coming months would be “tough” during a cost-of-living crisis, with families across the country facing soaring energy bills and inflation at a 40-year high.

Despite intense political pressure, Boris Johnson and Mr Sunak have so far resisted calls for an emergency budget, a windfall tax on oil and gas companies, and further help for the poorest households.

It also follows intense scrutiny over Mr Sunak and his wife’s financial affairs, after The Independent revealed Ms Murty, the daughter of one of India’s richest men, had been claiming non-dom status in the UK.

The tax status typically applies to someone who was born overseas and spends much of their time in the UK, but still considers another country to be their permanent residence or “domicile”.

It has been estimated Ms Murty’s non-dom status could have saved her £20m in taxes on dividends from her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her father.

After a furious political row, Ms Murty agreed to pay UK tax on her worldwide income, including dividends and capital gains, saying she did not want her tax status “to be a distraction for my husband”.

Mr Sunak was also cleared of breaching the ministerial code by Boris Johnson’s standards adviser after considering his declarations.

On Friday morning, the annual Sunday Times Rich List revealed they featured at 222 in the list with the joint forecast of £730m, driven by Ms Murty’s £690m stake in Infosys.

Asked about the news, Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, said it was “fantastic” the chancellor had joined the rich list.

He added: “I think we want more of those people. I think it’s fantastic that you’ve got someone of British-Indian origin, showing all people in our country that you can get to the top of politics.

“And frankly, I think if I understood correctly, the Sunday Times Rich List was a reflection of not just him but his wife. His wife is an incredibly successful entrepreneur in her own right.

“Again someone that’s here, British-Indian, and actually I think we want to see more women succeeding in both business and politics.”

The latest ranking of the 250 richest people in Britain also revealed a record 177 billionaires in the UK this year, up from 2021.

Overall, the richest 250 in the UK this year are worth £710.72bn, compared to £658.09bn in 2021, an 8 per cent rise on last year, the Sunday Times said.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that prices rose at their fastest rate in more than 40-years in the 20 months to April, with inflation climbing to a fresh record of 9 per cent – up from 7 per cent in March.

At an address to the Confederation of British Industry on the same day, Mr Sunak said: “I cannot pretend this will be easy.

“There is no measure that any government could take, no law we could pass, that can make these global forces disappear overnight. The next few months will be tough. But where we can act, we will.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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