Rishi Sunak says he gets cost-of-living woes after £2m income revealed

Rishi Sunak denies he is too rich to understand cost-of-living woes after tax return shows he had £2m of income last year… but paid a similar rate of tax to a nurse

  • Rishi Sunak finally released tax returns on same day Boris Johnson was grilled
  • The PM paid more than £432,000 in UK taxes last year on nearly £2m of income 

Rishi Sunak has denied being too rich to understand cost-of-living woes after his tax return showed his income was nearly £2million last year.

The PM insisted that easing the pain for Britons was his ‘number one priority’ and people were interested in ‘what I’m going to do for them’.

The comments came after he finally revealed details of his income and tax for the past three financial years, underlining the former financier’s status as one of the wealthiest MPs. 

The breakdown disclosed he paid more than £432,000 in tax on an income of £1.9million in 2021-22. Just £156,000 came from his salary as Chancellor, including a benefit in kind of around £7,000 for living in Downing Street.

The rest was from investments, with a blind trust in the US managing his money to avoid conflicts of interest.

In the past three years, Mr Sunak paid £1,053,060 in tax on income of £4,766,962. Critics pointed that is a rate of 22 per cent, almost the same as a mid-ranking nurse. 

The timing of the publication last night, as Boris Johnson gave evidence to the Privileges Committee and MPs voted on the Northern Ireland Brexit deal, raised eyebrows. 

Rishi Sunak has been slammed for the timing of releasing his finances while Boris Johnson was being grilled over Partygate

The vast bulk of tax paid by the multi-millionaire Prime Minister was capital gains tax on income from his investment fund, the return disclosed

It shows that on top of his £156,000 salary, from his previous role as Chancellor, Mr Sunak had a personal income of almost £2million from the blind trust

The PM first pledged to publish his tax returns a year ago, amid the fallout from his billionaire heiress wife Akshata Murty’s non-dom status and his own past use of a US Green Card.

The vast bulk of tax paid by the multi-millionaire Mr Sunak was capital gains tax on income from his investment fund, the return disclosed. 

The document, from City firm Evelyn Partners, noted: ‘All of your investment income and capital gains relate to a single US-based investment fund. 

‘This is the investment listed as a ”blind management arrangement” on the List of Ministers’ Interests. 

‘You are subject to tax in the UK on your portion of the income and gains received by this fund, notwithstanding that none of those amounts are distributed to you.’

It showed he paid £432,493 in tax in the 2021/2022 financial year. 

He paid £393,217 in 2020/2021, and £227,350 in 2019/20.

In 2021/22, Mr Sunak’s income from dividends was £172,415 and from capital gains was £1.6million.

Mr Sunak was asked during a visit to RAF Valley in Anglesey last night whether he could empathise with people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: ‘Well, I’ve published my tax returns because I said I would in the interests of transparency and I’m glad to have done that.

‘Now, I think ultimately what people are interested in is what I’m going to do for them.

‘You know, you talk about the cost of living and, of course, that’s the number one priority that I’ve got that I’m grappling with.’

Tax lawyer Dan Neidle suggested Mr Sunak was paying an effective tax rate of 22 per cent due to the advantages of Capital Gains Tax.

He told Sky News: ‘It is not because he has done anything clever or because he is avoiding tax.

‘It is because in this country we tax employment income at up to 47 per cent but capital gains on investments at only 20 per cent.

‘That is why his effective rate is so low.

‘Whether that is a fair result, whether the law should be like that is a very good question.

‘And weirdly Mr Sunak, who benefits from that low rate, is also the man who has the power to change it.’

Estimates suggest that Mr Sunak and Ms Murthy, the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire, are worth around £730million – double the estimated wealth of King Charles III and Camilla. 

The majority of this is thought to be due to Ms Murthy’s 0.91 per cent stake in her father’s software company, Infosys.

Boris Johnson was about two-and-half-hours into his tough afternoon in front of the privileges committee when Mr Sunak released his finances

In 2016, David Cameron released a summary of his tax returns from 2009 to 2015 in an attempt to defuse a row over his personal finances. 

When she was home secretary, Theresa May also published a tax summary a few months later but refused to during her tenure in No 10.

Boris Johnson never released his tax details while PM, but did so when he was mayor of London.

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