The Chancellor has defended his wife after it emerged she holds the tax-reducing non-domiciled status, as it was reported his allies have accused No 10 of being responsible for the briefings.
Rishi Sunak said his spouse Akshata Murty – who is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds – had done nothing wrong in choosing a financial arrangement that means she is not legally obliged to pay tax in Britain on foreign income.
He has blamed Labour for the “awful” smears against his family, but The Daily Telegraph reported that unnamed allies of the Chancellor claimed the Prime Minister’s office were behind the leaks – an allegation No 10 and No 11 strongly denied.
A No 10 spokeswoman told the PA news agency: “It is categorically untrue that No 10 is behind the briefings.
“The Prime Minister and Chancellor are united.”
Mr Sunak told The Sun newspaper that Ms Murty was entitled to use the so-called “non-dom” arrangement as she is an Indian citizen and plans to move back to her home country to care for her parents.
The fashion-designer daughter of a billionaire married the Chancellor in 2009 before he became an MP.
Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty pose for pictures during a reception to celebrate the British Asian Trust at The British Museum. Photo: TRISTAN FEWINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.
She is reported to hold a 0.91% stake in Infosys, an IT business founded by her father, with The Guardian reporting that the share is worth £11.5 million per year to Mr Sunak’s wife.
The paper also reported Ms Murty had potentially avoided up to £20 million in UK tax by being non-domiciled.
With Ms Murty born in India and her father also from the south Asian country, UK Government rules allow her to list India, rather than the UK, as her permanent residence, meaning different tax rules on foreign earnings apply.
The Chancellor said it was “unpleasant” to read attacks on his wife “especially when she hasn’t done anything wrong”.
“She hasn’t broken any rules. She’s followed the letter of the law,” Mr Sunak told The Sun.
The Chancellor said his partner “pays full UK tax on every penny that she earns here in the same way that she pays full international tax on every penny that she earns internationally”.
Asked during the interview whether he thought his family were victims of a “Labour smear campaign”, Mr Sunak said he did.
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