The immense fortune of Rishi Sunak makes people cringe

Rishi Sunak's immense fortune makes one cringe

BETTING À DAY

A new Prime Minister too far from the realities of the British? In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, Rishi Sunak's immense fortune is already drawing criticism from the opposition. 

At 42, he became the first prime minister of Indian origin in the history of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, who passed through elite schools and universities and the Goldman Sachs bank, married to a multimillionaire, is also the richest British leader the country has ever known.

The fortune of Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty is estimated at 730 million pounds ($1.14 billion) in the latest 'Rich List' of the Sunday Times. The couple own a stately home in the Prime Minister's constituency in the North of England, a home in London's affluent Kensington neighborhood and an apartment in Santa Monica, California.

A supporter of spending cuts to curb inflation rather than resorting to debt to support households, Rishi Sunak warned on taking office on Tuesday that he would make “tough decisions” to deal with the economic crisis that many Britons suffer on a daily basis.

“Sunak and his wife sit on a fortune of 730,000,000 pounds. This is twice the estimated fortune of King Charles III. Bear that in mind when he talks about making 'tough decisions',” Labor MP Nadia Whittome reacted. 

The opposition has made the new leader's fortune a privileged angle of attack, believing that his extremely wealthy lifestyle makes him unable to understand the difficulties of the population.

“The new prime minister will protect the interests of the (richest) 1%,” tweeted former Labor opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. “The 99% will pay”.

Elite

Born in the south of England to parents of Indian origin, Rishi Sunak is the eldest son of a general practitioner in the public health system and a pharmacist. He quickly rose to the elite by attending Winchester College, a very chic boarding school for boys.

After studying at Oxford and before entering politics, he worked in finance, in particular at Goldman Sachs, and founded his own investment company.

The wealth accumulated during his career in finance is not known, but his fortune increased further when he married in 2009 Akshata Murty, daughter of an Indian multi-billionaire. 

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Already in April, when Mr. Sunak was Finance Minister, revelations that his wife enjoyed advantageous tax status had created controversy as prices rose across the country. She had to give it up under pressure.

According to a survey by the Savanta ComRes institute, “rich” is the first word that comes to mind when asked about their new leader.

“You could say 'rich' in the UK is probably a derogatory term,” Chris Hopkins of Savanta ComRes told AFP, adding that the words 'knowledgeable' and 'smart' were also mentioned. p>

'Hard to swallow'

According to him, if most Britons were unaware of Mr Sunak's wealth before the status controversy his wife's tax bill, his fortune now risks being “difficult to swallow” if he announces measures that do not affect him personally, but which affect the household budget.

For many observers, however, the problem is not so much his wealth as his inability to understand the difficulties of ordinary people. 

Mr. Sunak is “failing miserably” to “understand and have empathy for ordinary people whose lives depend on the decisions made by the prime minister”, wrote the newspaper The Mirror this summer, while the he former minister was campaigning for Downing Street. 

In a country where inequalities between social classes are even more visible than elsewhere, Rishi Sunak tries to play the card of the ordinary Briton, repeating to the envy that he worked in the family pharmacy when he was a teenager.

But some of his outings are stained, as when he had boasted, younger, of not having friends from of the working class. More recently, his expensive gadgets or campaign-worn Prada shoes have been mocked by his opponents, and he has appeared struggling to use a simple bank card.