In the UK, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is in turmoil

British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and his wife, Akshata Murty, at a reception at the British Museum, London, 9 February 2022.

The star of Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson’s brilliant finance minister, has suddenly faded in recent days. Regarded as the most popular of Conservative MPs until early spring – one of the few who could push the Prime Minister to the exit – the elected Yorkshire (Northern England) official must now defend his and his wife’s reputation on foot, as revelations about their personal fortunes pile up.

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Thursday 7 April, the daily the independent claimed that Akshata Murty, his wife, had a specific tax status, the non-domiciled status (“non-domiciled status”), which means that he does not have to pay tax in the United Kingdom on his income generated abroad. Of Indian nationality, Murty is the daughter of the founder of Infosys, one of the largest IT services companies in the world. It owns 0.93% of the group’s capital, or more than 500 million pounds sterling (600 million euros). In 2021, the dividends were £11.6m (they would be taxed in the UK at 39.35%).

Non-dome status is granted by the UK tax authorities to people living in the UK if they can demonstrate that they intend to return to their country of origin one day. Respond quickly to The sun, Rishi Sunak denounced “a smear campaign” actually intended to achieve this, claiming that his wife’s tax scheme was not designed to avoid tax. “Of course she pays tax on every penny she earns in the UK! †he launched.

‘Incredible hypocrisy’

His defense did not last long: Friday, April 8 Mme Murty has announced that he will renounce his specific tax status (a priori perfectly legal), while the number of attacks by opposition parties has increased. Keir Starmer, the Labor leader (PvdA), criticized a “terrible hypocrisy” by the Sunak-Murty couple, who are said to be trying to optimize their tax returns at a time when the British are experiencing the highest tax increase in half a century.

This “Rishi” affair comes when, on Friday 1er In April, private energy bills grew by an average of 54%, almost no help from the state, Mr. Sunak massively refused to help households. Also on Wednesday, April 6, the National Insurance (Social Security) increase for employees and employers came into effect, an unprecedented tax increase (+1.25% on average) for a conservative government, which is supposed to save the public health system. .

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