Rishi Sunak has been branded ‘out of touch’ after paying over £10,000 to fly by private helicopter to a Tory dinner party in Wales.
The Chancellor is said to have paid out of his own pocket for the round trip from Battersea Heliport in London to the Conservative Conference in Newtown, Powys, this weekend.
Labor has branded Mr Sunak ‘out of touch’ with mainstream voters, with shadow financial secretary James Murray saying he should ‘start paying attention to the problem facing most families – soaring bills and rising price”.
Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty this week made the Sunday Times rich list for the first time with their joint fortune of £730million.
Last month, The Independent revealed how Ms Murty claimed non-domicile status in order to save on her tax bill.
Ms Murty, whose family business is estimated to be worth around £3.5billion, continued to use the valuable tax status even after Mr Sunak was tasked with setting taxes for the country in February 2020.
It is unclear exactly how much was saved by Ms Murty, but sources said The Independent it could have saved him millions of pounds in foreign income tax for several years.
Ms Murty later announced she would pay UK tax on her overseas earnings – but insisted the contentious non-dom arrangement had been ‘entirely legal’.
And just last week, Mr Sunak claimed there was nothing the government could do to stop rising inflation hurting British families, as it hit 9% for the first time in 40 year.
Treasury sources reportedly told the shimmer Mr Sunak took part in a question and answer session with former Tory leader William Hague before dinner in Powys.
He would have traveled by helicopter to save time.
Shadow financial secretary James Murray told the paper: “Flying to and from Wales for dinner says a lot about how out of touch this Chancellor is.
“If he wastes his own money so much, it’s no wonder he treats public finances so negligently.”
Labor also claimed the Chancellor would not have needed to fly to the Welsh Conservative Party conference by helicopter if Wales had their fair share of HS2 money.
Shadow Wales Minister Gerald Jones said: ‘Perhaps if the Government had given Wales a fair settlement to modernize their railways the Chancellor wouldn’t have to shell out £10,000 for a helicopter for a return trip from London to Powys.
“When is the Secretary of State going to use his position at the cabinet table to make sure his government spits?”
Wales Secretary Simon Hart said the UK government had invested £340 million in rail infrastructure in Wales, adding: “I think he is underestimating and underestimating the investments that we are already making.”
A spokesperson for the Chancellor said: ‘The Chancellor is looking to minimize the time he spends traveling so he can spend as much time as possible focusing on delivering for the British people.
“There was no cost to the taxpayer.”