Dominic Raab says it's ‘fantastic’ Rishi Sunak has joined UK list of super-rich

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·Political Correspondent, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
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rich rish
Chancellor Rishi Sunak qualified for The Sunday Times rich list this year amid the growing cost-of-living crisis. (Getty)

Dominic Raab on Friday said it is "fantastic" that Rishi Sunak has entered The Sunday Times super-rich list this year.

Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murthy, have qualified for the first time with a net worth of £730m - just shy of one billion dollars at $911m.

Raab told Times Radio that Sunak was "a fantastic example of someone who’s been successful in business, who’s coming to make a big impact in public service."

Sunak's elevation to the rundown of wealthiest Britons comes at a challenging time for swathes of the country struggling under the weight of the cost-of-living crisis.

The chancellor has been warned that 1.3 million Brits, including 500,000 children, will fall into absolute poverty in 2022/23 if the Treasury does not provide additional support.

Raab praised Sunak's entry to the rich list. (PA)
Raab praised Sunak's entry to the rich list. (PA)

Read more: Child forced off school with chilblains because family can't afford to heat home

On Wednesday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported inflation hit 9% in the 12 months to April 2022, the highest in 40 years.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said it will be even higher for households on the lowest incomes who spend a greater proportion of their income on food and fuel.

"Because so much of the [inflation] increase was driven by the increase in the gas and electricity tariff cap, poorer households who spend more of their budgets on gas and electricity, faced an even higher rate of inflation," Heidi Karjalainen, a research economist at the IFS.

"We estimate that the poorest 10% of households faced an inflation rate of 10.9%."

Raab also called for more billionaires in the UK.

May 2022 inflation correct one
Inflation has soared to a 40 year high in the UK. (ONS)

"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," he said.

“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.”

Sunak's wife Murthy is the daughter of an Indian billionaire IT tech giant worth more than $3bn.

She was subject to a fierce backlash in April after it emerged she was avoiding millions in tax by legally claiming non-domiciled status despite living on Downing Street.

But not everyone has been quite as welcoming to the wealth-boom among the UK's elite.

After the rich list was revealed on Friday, the progressive IPPR think-tank said measures like "redistributing" wealth gains needed to be considered by the government.

Read more: People attempting suicide because of cost-of-living crisis, warns MP

George Dibbs, head of the IPPR think tank’s Centre for Economic Justice, said: “As we enter a once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis the Sunday Times Rich List shows us again that vast wealth often begets more wealth.

"That has proved particularly true during the pandemic, when the wealthiest accumulated more wealth than poorer people who saved nothing.

“Now there are more billionaires in the UK than ever before and the collective wealth of the richest has grown again.

“We need to look urgently at ways to support the households most exposed by this new price crisis, and that should include redistributing the wealth gains of the richest to pay for higher social security benefits for those who most need them."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak alongside his wife Akshata Murthy attend a reception to celebrate the British Asian Trust at the British Museum, in London. Picture date: Wednesday February 9, 2022. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty came under fierce criticism in April after it emerged Murthy was avoiding millions in tax by claiming non-domiciled status. (Getty)

Entering the list of the UK's richest Britons comes during a politically challenging period for the chancellor.

Along with growing calls to help those most in need, Sunak has had to repeatedly fend off accusations that he is out-of-touch with people requiring the most support.

On Wednesday, Sunak promised future tax cuts and said he will "stand by to help" as the cost of living crisis deepens.

A growing number of Tory MPs, including foreign secretary Liz Truss, have also called for tax cuts to help those struggling with the cost of living.

Read more: People ‘stealing soap and sanitary products’ because of cost-of-living crisis

However, experts have warned it is not the best way to help Brits struggling the most - instead insisting measures like up-rating benefits in line with inflation will provide constructive support.

“[Tax cuts are] a great solution for backbench MPs, but a terrible solution for a cost-of-living crisis hitting low-and-middle-income households hardest," said Resolution Foundation chief executive Torsten Bell, according to The Times.

It comes after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that Brits are facing the biggest drop in living standards since records began.

Watch: 'For Alex it's a case of life or death': For some the cost of living crisis is also a health crisis

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