Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty rise up rich list as fortune increases by £120m

<span>Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty. The couple’s wealth was estimated at £651m, up from £529m in 2023.</span><span>Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty. The couple’s wealth was estimated at £651m, up from £529m in 2023.Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

The personal fortune of Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, has increased by £120m in the run-up to the next general election, figures reveal.

The latest annual Sunday Times rich list shows the couple’s fortune grew substantially at a time when millions of Britons struggled with the cost of living. Sunak and Murty’s wealth is estimated at £651m in the latest list, up from £529m in 2023.

The figures will reinforce public perceptions of Sunak’s wealth. In previous surveys, the public have overwhelmingly used the word “rich” to describe the prime minister.

Last year’s rise in the couple’s fortune was linked to Murty’s stake in Infosys, the $70bn (£55.3bn) Indian IT firm co-founded by her billionaire father. Her shares grew in value by £108.8m to nearly £590m for the year.

The couple’s wealth remains below its level in 2022, when it was estimated at about £730m.

On Thursday Sunak, whose government is trailing in in the polls behind Labour, insisted he would remain an MP if the Conservatives lose the next election. Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, he said: “Yes of course I’m staying, I love being an MP, I love my constituents, I love my home in North Yorkshire, it’s wonderful – and I love being able to get back there.”

His family own an apartment in Santa Monica, California. Sunak spent much of his 20s and early 30s on the US west coast and met Murty at Stanford business school. Sunak’s interest in technology and AI has led to suggestions he could get a job in Silicon Valley.

The rich list shows that King Charles’s wealth also grew in the year, from £600m to £610m.

The list records that the number of British billionaires tumbled again, continuing a theme seen in 2023. The number of billionaires reached a peak of 177 in 2022 before dropping to 171 last year and falling again to 165 this year, driven by the private wealth of some contracting amid high borrowing rates, and others leaving the country.

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Robert Watts, the compiler of the list, said: “This year’s Sunday Times rich list suggests Britain’s billionaire boom has come to an end. Many of our homegrown entrepreneurs have seen their fortunes fall and some of the global super-rich who came here are moving away.

“Thousands of British livelihoods rely on the super-rich to some extent. We’ll have to wait and see whether we have now reached peak billionaire, and what that means for our economy.”

The list of Britain’s 350 wealthiest individuals and families together hold combined wealth of £795.36bn, according to the data. This year’s list is once again topped by Gopi Hinduja and his family, who control the Indian conglomerate Hinduja Group. Hinduja and his family’s wealth rose to £37.2bn, from £35bn.

Meanwhile, the fortunes of a number of the UK’s highest-profile billionaires shrank over the year amid challenging periods for many businesses and investments. Jim Ratcliffe, James Dyson and Richard Branson also recorded declines for the year.

Ratcliffe, the Manchester United investor and Ineos founder, was the biggest faller on the list, with his net worth dropping by more than £6bn to £23.52bn.

Dyson was the second largest faller, dropping from £23bn to £20.8bn. Meanwhile, Branson’s wealth fell from £4.2bn to £2.4bn after a challenging year for Virgin Galactic.