Rishi Sunak has been crushed by the liberal Democrats for finally releasing details about his finances after months of questioning at the same time Boris Johnson was grilled by MPs over Partygate.
The Prime Minister announced this yesterday he paid more than £432,000 in tax last year on an income of nearly £2 million — despite a salary of £156,000 as chancellor.
Over the past three years, the document shows, Mr Sunak has paid £1,053,060 in tax on an income of £4,766,962, a rate of 22 per cent. While there has been – and doubtless always will be – considerable interest in the prime minister’s finances, it is the timing of his release that has raised eyebrows.
The Prime Minister’s tax affairs would undoubtedly have dominated the headlines if Mr Johnson hadn’t spent more than two and a half hours fighting to save his political career before the Privileges Committee over Partygate.
Lib Dem Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine publicly called out Downing Street for the timing of their release.
Rishi Sunak has been criticized for the timing of releasing his finances while Boris Johnson was grilled over Partygate
Boris Johnson was about two and a half hours into his tough afternoon before the Privileges Committee when Mr Sunak released his finances
“After months of promising to release his tax returns, I don’t understand why Rishi Sunak has smuggled them out while the world is distracted by Boris Johnson’s partygate whims,” she said.
“People today will be much more concerned about the staggering tax hikes that Rishi Sunak has imposed on them.
The blunt truth is that we should judge politicians by their actions, not by their wealth. Rishi Sunak will be remembered as the tax-walking prime minister and no distractions from Boris Johnson will stop that.”
The timing of Downing Street will no doubt remind many of Labor aide Jo Moore who suggested that the 9/11 attacks in 2001 were a ‘good day to bury bad news’.
Ms Moore, who worked for Stephen Byers in the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, was widely condemned for the comments – and despite stepping down the following year, the perception has persisted that governments may be trying to spread the news widely days to bury. .
The prime minister was first asked to release his tax returns a year ago amid the fallout from his wife Akshata Murty’s non-dom status and his own past use of a US green card.
The vast majority of the tax paid by multimillionaire Sunak was capital gains tax on income from his investment fund, the returns show.
Not only did Mr Sunak’s release come at Mr Johnson’s whim, but it also came hours after he won a key House of Commons vote that appears to have largely resolved the Brexit arguments in Westminster.
The vast majority of the tax the multimillionaire prime minister paid was capital gains tax on income from his investment fund, the return shows
It shows that on top of his salary of £156,000, from his previous role as chancellor, Mr Sunak had a personal income of almost £2million from the blind trust
The document, from city-based Evelyn Partners, states: “All of your investment income and capital gains relate to a single US-based investment fund.
‘This is the investment that is listed as a ‘blind management agreement’ on the list of ministerial interests.
‘You are liable to UK tax on your share of the income and gains received by this fund, even though none of these amounts are paid out to you.’
It showed that he paid £432,493 in tax in the 2021/2022 financial year. The release, following a pledge the Prime Minister first made during his Tory leadership last summer, also showed him paying £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 £1.6m.
Labor also joined the Lib Dems in questioning the timing of the release, which took place on a very busy news day in Westminster.
Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner tweeted: “Wonder why he was elected today?”
Lib Dem Cabinet Office spokeswoman Christine Jardine (pictured) publicly called out Downing Street for the timing of their release
Labor also joined the Lib Dems in questioning the timing of the release, which came on a very busy news day in Westminster
Estimates suggest Mr Sunak and Ms Murthy, the daughter of an Indian tech billionaire, are worth around £730 million – double the estimated £300-£350 million net worth of King Charles III and Camilla.
Most of this is believed to be due to Ms. Murthy’s 0.91 percent stake in her father’s software company, Infosys.
In 2016, Mr Cameron released an overview of his tax returns from 2009 to 2015 in an attempt to defuse the row over his personal finances. When she was Home Secretary, Theresa May also published a tax summary a few months later, but she declined during her tenure in No. 10.
Boris Johnson never released his tax records during his premiership, but he did when he was mayor of London.