‘He must have a unique insight into the cost of living crisis’: Eyebrows raised as Rishi Sunak and heiress wife appear number 222 on UK’s Rich List – with couple worth an estimated £730MILLION
- Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty have built up a joint fortune of £730million, according to new rich list
- Mr Sunak, 42, and his wife feature at 222 in top 250 richest people in the UK according to the Sunday Times
- Chancellor is the first frontline politician to feature in the annual wealth rankings since its inception in 1989
Rishi Sunak and his heiress wife Akshata Murty have built up a joint fortune of £730million – with the Chancellor now the first frontline politician to be named in the Sunday Times Rich List.
The couple have been named at 222 in the top 250 richest people in the UK – just hours after Mr Sunak warned Britons they face ‘tough’ time due to the spiking cost of living and crippling inflation.
The Chancellor, 42, whose wife owns a £430million stake in her Indian tech billionaire father’s IT business, is now the first frontline politician to feature in the annual wealth rankings since its inception in 1989, according to the Times.
Today, fellow minister Dominic Raab, who is himself estimated to be worth £1.3million, praised Mr Sunak’s inclusion on the list describing it as ‘fantastic’.
But social media users have raised eyebrows at the announcement, with some questioning how a multimillionaire Chancellor will be able to relate to the millions of Britons facing a cost of living squeeze.
One wrote: ‘Does Rishi Sunak appearing in the Times Rich List give him a unique insight into working class families managing the cost of living crisis?’
Another wrote: ‘Rishi Sunak and his wife are in the Times Rich List. They’re in the top 250 richest in the country! He’s definitely going to help ordinary people isn’t he.’
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty have built up a joint fortune of £730million – with the Chancellor now the first frontline politician to be named in the Sunday Times Rich List
Another Twitter user described Mr Sunak’s inclusion as a ‘bitter pill to take’. She wrote: Rishi Sunak and his wife making the Rich List is a bitter pill to take from a man in charge of the country’s purse strings – when so many have been forced into poverty with the current cost of living crisis.’
Murthy’s Millions: Akshata’s family business portfolio
- Combined shareholding in tech firm Infosys worth £1.7billion
- Joint venture with Amazon, Cloudtail, in India worth £900m-a-year
- Shareholding in UK firm which runs Jamie’s Italian restaurants and burger chain Wendy’s in India
- Also holds shares in Koru Kids and is director of Digme Fitness
- Murthy is a shareholder or director in five other UK companies, including Mayfair outfitter which makes Eton College pupils’ tailcoats costing £2,500 each
- Akshata is also listed as a director of the UK arm of software company, Soroco, co-founded by her brother
- Investment firm Catamaran Ventures owned by father N. R. Narayana Murthy
- Ms Murthy runs fashion label Akshata Designs
Robert Palmer, who works with pressure group TaxJustice, added: ‘It is particularly striking that Rishi Sunak is the first politician to make the list.
‘He had the power to ease the cost of living but has done far too little. It is way past the time for the Chancellor to act.’ While the Times describes Mr Sunak as the first ‘frontline politician’ to feature on the list, he is not the first politician.
Meanwhile, journalist and writer Otto English, a keen critic of the the Tories, today shared the news with a pun, calling Mr Sunak ‘Richie Sunak’.
Scottish writer Darren McGarvey also joined in the reaction, writing: ‘I hear Rishi Sunak is the hottest new entry on the Sunday Times Rich list.
‘Enjoy your cost of living crisis plebs and keep the noise down will you? Your chancellor is concentrating hard on counting all his sweet sweet cash while navigating a path to the highest office in the land.’
But Justice Secretary Dominic Raab today defended Mr Sunak, saying it was ‘fantastic’ that the Chancellor had joined the Sunday Times Rich List
Mr Raab told Times Radio: ‘He’s a fantastic example of someone who’s been successful in business, who’s coming to make a big impact in public service.
‘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.’
It comes as the Chancellor and his wife’s finances have come under intense scrutiny this year.
Last month MailOnline revealed the extraordinary £15million property portfolio and £700million-plus fortune Mr Sunak shares with his Indian wife.
Ms Murthy used the valuable tax status as recently as April 2020, two months after her husband was made Chancellor
The furore came after was revealed that Ms Murty had non-dom status, which 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 £20million in taxes on dividends from her shares in Infosys, an Indian IT company founded by her father. She later agreed to pay UK taxes on her worldwide income.
Who features at the top of the 2022 Sunday Times Rich list?
Sri and Gopi Hinduja were named the richest people in the UK with a staggering £28.4bn estimated wealth.
The brothers, 86, and 82, have businesses in industry and finance. They moved up from third on the list last year to first this year, seeing their wealth rise by £11.4bn in the last 12 months.
Up two into second is engineer James Dyson – founder of vacuum firm Dyson, who is now worth £23bn, up £6.7billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Property tycoons David and Simon Reuben slipped down to third with a total of £22.265bn. But the brothers still saw their wealth rise by £800million.
Sir Leonard Blavatnik, who last year featured top of the Sunday Times rich list, came in at number four, having seen his wealth drop by £3bn to £20bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Mr Sunak, was cleared of breaching the ministerial code by Boris Johnson’s standards adviser after considering the tax affairs, made big money in the City of London before entering politics.
But the bulk of the cash is from his wife’s stake in IT giant Infosys, set up by her father. Ms Murty has enjoyed around £54million in dividends over the past seven and a half years alone.
The rich list reveal comes as business leaders, charities and a former chancellor lined up yesterday to urge Mr Sunak to unveil a package of measures now to help families cope with the rising cost of living.
The Confederation of British Industry called on the Treasury to announce help for the ‘hardest hit’, while the Resolution Foundation said ministers should increase benefits and pensions as soon as possible.
Tory peer Lord Lamont, chancellor under Sir John Major, demanded an increase in Universal Credit to ease the pain for the most vulnerable.
And financial expert Martin Lewis warned of the risk of ‘civil unrest’ as the price of food spirals.
The pleas came as £43billion was wiped off the FTSE 100. The London stock market ended down 1.82 per cent or 135.35 points, while there were also falls on Wall Street. Consumer-focused stocks were the worst hit.
Chancellor Mr Sunak is under pressure after inflation hit a 40-year high of nine per cent, with food and energy costs among the main concerns.
But wrangling has continued within the Cabinet over the idea of using a windfall tax on oil and gas producers – who have benefited from high global prices – to fund measures to help with household bills.
It was reported that Boris Johnson was ‘intrinsically opposed’ to the levy, despite the Treasury being more open to the idea. But Downing Street insisted ‘the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are aligned’.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘You’ve heard them both say effectively the same thing when it comes to these sorts of taxes. We want to see significant investment by these sorts of companies into British jobs to grow the economy, to secure our energy supply for the long term.’
Mr Sunak appeared to acknowledge the need for further support for the poorest in a speech to the CBI on Wednesday night, saying: ‘Right now, we have a collective responsibility to help the most vulnerable in our society.’
But he wants to avoid inflicting further damage on the public finances, which have already been battered by the billions pumped in to the Covid-19 pandemic response, or introducing any stimulus measures which could further increase inflation.
Lord Lamont called on ministers to restore the temporary Universal Credit increase – brought in during the pandemic – to ease the cost-of-living crisis for the most vulnerable.
Financial expert Martin Lewis, pictured on Good Morning Britain in March, warned of the risk of ‘civil unrest’ as the price of food spirals
Business leaders, charities and former chancellor Lord Lamont lined up yesterday to urge Rishi Sunak (pictured left) to unveil a package of measures now to help families cope with the rising cost of living. The chancellor pictured at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual dinner on Thursday Tory peer Lord Lamont (pictured right in July 2005 at Westminster Abbey), chancellor under Sir John Major, demanded an increase in Universal Credit to ease the pain for the most vulnerable
He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: ‘Although the Government has given considerable help already, I think it is clear that a further package will be necessary.
‘There is no way the Government can insulate the whole population from an external caused inflation, but… they ought to do something on Universal Credit, perhaps restore the temporary increase that was then withdrawn, also act on the warm homes discount and widen its scope.’
CBI director general Tony Danker told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Helping people with heating and eating bills will not fuel inflation.
‘You need to stimulate business investment now – that’s not going to overheat the economy. It’s going to make sure that any downturn in our fortunes is short and shallow because growth is coming soon.’
The Chancellor is facing demands to increase benefits and pensions, which rose by 3.1 per cent in April, linked to the inflation rate of September last year, meaning they have fallen sharply behind inflation.
The Resolution Foundation think-tank said: ‘The Government has the power to support those hardest hit by bringing forward benefits uprating.’
Alison Garnham of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham added: ‘As a minimum, benefits must be brought in line with inflation this autumn. The wellbeing and life chances of a generation of children are now on the line.’
Mr Lewis told ITV’s Peston: ‘I worry about civil unrest. So the Government needs to get a handle on it, and they need to get a handle on it quickly.
‘They need to stop people making choices of whether they feed themselves or feed their children.’
Labour has argued that a windfall tax could fund a VAT cut on energy bills and an increase in the warm home discount for those on a low income.
The oil and gas industry has warned that unpredictable tax policies could deter investment and hit jobs.
Rishi Sunak’s wife is richer than the Queen: Tech billionaire’s daughter who he met while studying at Stanford has shares in family’s firm are worth £430million – making her one of Britain’s wealthiest women
Rishi Sunak’s wife has shares in her family’s tech firm that are worth £430million, making her one of Britain’s wealthiest women and richer than the Queen.
Akshata Murthy and her relatives hold a multimillion pound portfolio of shareholdings which have come to light amid questions over the Chancellor, who met his future wife while studying at Stanford University, California, failing to declare them in the register of ministers’ interests last year.
The assets make Indian-born Akshata richer than the Queen, who is estimated to be worth £350million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
She is the daughter of one of the richest men in India – billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy – who has been described as the father of the Indian IT sector and ‘one of the 12 greatest businessmen of all time’.
Sunak is the son of a GP father and pharmacist mother who emigrated to Southampton from East Africa in the 1960s, and he studied at Oxford University before winning a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford where the future husband and wife met.
The latest revelation comes after Sunak faced demands to reveal details of his financial interests last month, after it emerged he set up a ‘blind trust’ when he was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July last year.
But critics said there was still risk of conflict as Sunak – reputed to be the richest MP – is aware what he put into the trust.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy (pictured together at their wedding) has shares in her family’s tech business worth £430million, making her richer than the Queen
Sunak’s wife is the daughter of an entrepreneur in India, co-founding technology company Infosys – in which she owns 0.91 per cent shares, totalling £430million.
Her family are also have a joint venture with Amazon worth £900million a year and shares in the firm running Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian and burger chain Wendy’s in India.
Before becoming Chancellor, Sunak was better known in India than he was in Britain, after he became a household name when he married Akshata, the daughter of a self-made billionaire.
Akshata’s father is the 51st richest man in India and ranks at 1135 in the world’s billionaire list, according to Forbes.
The father-of-two from Bangalore, India, graduated with a science Master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology before becoming the co-founder and chairman of Infosys.
He spent 30 years at the company before resigning in 2011, coming back in 2013 to pass the management to a CEO in 2014.
The tech giant was worth around £2billion when Southampton-born Sunak travelled on a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford University in California, where he met his future wife after taking Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford.
It is today valued at around £33.3billion, with Mr Murphy’s real-time net worth estimated at around £2.3billion ($3.1bn) at the time of writing.
According to his company profile, Mr Murthy, whose wife, Sudha, works as an author, is currently on the boards of Ford Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey and the United Nations Foundation.
He has also served on the boards of Cornell University, Wharton School, the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and the Rhodes Trust at Oxford, alongside Yale University’s international advisory board.
On its website, Infosys says that Mr Murthy ‘introduced the concept of the 24-hour work day to the world’.
It states: ‘Mr Murthy conceptualized, articulated and implemented the Global Delivery Model (GDM) which has become the backbone of the Indian software industry.
‘GDM is based on collaborative distributed software development principles and has resulted in the delivery of superior quality software to global customers delivered on time and within budget. Mr Murthy also introduced the concept of the 24-hour work day to the world.
‘Under Mr. Murthy’s leadership, Infosys became the leader in innovation in technical, managerial and leadership training, software technology, quality, productivity, customer focus, employee satisfaction, and physical and technological infrastructure.’
It was revealed last month that when taking on ministerial duties the Chancellor set up a ‘blind trust’, meaning he did not know where his assets were being invested. Pictured: Sunak with his wife, Akshata, and their children Krishna and Anoushka
Sunak is locally he is dubbed the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’ (pictured, their magnificent Georgian manor in North Yorkshire)
Rishi Sunak, pictured with his wife Akshata Murthy, was better known in India than Britain before he became Chancellor
After taking a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, Southampton-born Sunak travelled on a Fulbright scholarship to Stanford University in California where met his future wife (pictured with her family, second from right)
Sunak and Akshata married in 2009 in her home city of Bangalore in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests.
Before entering politics, Mr Sunak, who is now a multi-millionaire in his own right, studied at the £42,000-per-year Winchester College and later at Oxford University.
During his time in business, he worked in California, India and Britain for various investment firms including Goldman Sachs.
He later set up his own business, Theleme Partners, in 2010 with an initial fund of £536million.
While building the hedge fund he spent a couple of days doing voluntary work for the Conservatives – which was when he decided he would like to go into politics full-time.
Speaking about his decision to go into politics, he once explained: ‘It was my parents who motivated me, but not in a political way.
‘My dad was a GP, my mum a pharmacist, and I grew up working in their surgery; in the pharmacy; delivering medicines to people who couldn’t pick them up.
‘People would always stop and talk to me about my mum and dad, saying, ‘Oh, you’re Mrs Sunak’s son, Dr Sunak’s son.’ And then they’d have some story about how my parents had helped them, or their parents, or children, and I thought that was amazing.
‘They had done the same job in the same place for 30 years, and it was clear that they as individuals were able to have an amazing impact on the community around us, and that I found pretty inspiring. And that was my motivation for becoming an MP.’
Every year Sunak and his wife throw a summer garden party for local villagers at their magnificent Georgian £1.5million manor house in Kirby Sigston, just outside Northallerton, Yorkshire – leading to him being dubbed the ‘Maharaja of the Dales’.
Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the Chancellor appeared to have ‘taken the most minimalist approach possible’ to divulging information.
He told The Guardian: ‘Perhaps Rishi Sunak should carefully read the “Seven principles of Public Life” to make sure he is fulfilling the two principles of “Honesty and Leadership”.’
But a Treasury spokesman said Mr Sunak had ‘followed the ministerial code to the letter in his declaration of interests’.
It follows Mr Sunak facing demands to reveal details of his financial interests last month, after it emerged he set up a ‘blind trust’ on becoming a minister.
The Chancellor deployed the arrangement, meaning that he does not know how his assets are being invested, when he was made Chief Secretary to the Treasury in July last year.
By setting up the ‘blind trust’ it means he does not have to disclose fuller details of his investment portfolio. Pictured: Sunak with his wife and children during the recent election
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is pictured with his wife, Akshata, and their two children during a Santa run
The couple married in 2009 in her home city of Bangalore in a two-day ceremony attended by 1,000 guests
Before entering politics, Mr Sunak, who is now a multi-millionaire in his own right and a graduate of £42,000-per-year Winchester College and Oxford University graduate
But critics said there was still risk of conflict as Mr Sunak – reputed to be the richest MP – is aware what he put into the trust.
It also means he does not have to disclose fuller details of his investment portfolio. The presence of the trust was revealed in the latest register of ministerial interests.
It came as other official documents revealed that he did not take his salary for five months when he joined the Treasury last year. He waived the £34,000 top up to his MP’s salary until just before Christmas.
Theresa May also attracted controversy as she made a similar move when she became Prime Minister in 2016.
And in the mid-1990s the Tories attacked Tony Blair as it emerged he used a blind trust, when leader of the opposition, to fund his office.
Former standards tsar Sir Alex Allan, who quit his role last week after Boris Johnson overruled his conclusion that the Home Secretary Priti Patel breached the ministerial code, is said to have signed off on Sunak’s disclosures.
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