UK PM hopeful Rishi Sunak is once again in the news for his lifestyle rather than his work. This time, the controversy centres around the 400,000 pounds (approximately Rs 3.8 crore) that he is spending on constructing a swimming pool inside his luxury mansion even as parts of England battle an unforgiving drought and water shortage.
According to the Daily Mail, along with the pool, the former Chancellor of Exchequer is also building a gym and tennis courts at his 2 million pound Georgian manor house near Northallerton. This is the house where Rishi Sunak, 42, typically spends his weekends with wife Akshata Murty and their two children.The couple had applied for permission to build a 12-metre by 5-metre swimming pool at the mansion last year. Aerial footage filmed recently shows the construction of the pool is in full swing – a fact that has angered many on social media, given the cost-of-living crisis in the UK. Also adding fuel to fire is the fact that public swimming pools in Richmond were forced to close due to rising energy costs.
RIshi Sunak's huge swimming pool, gym and tennis courts are nearing completion in the grounds of his Manor House near Northallerton. @RishiSunak @trussliz @yorkpress @TeessideLive #Ready4Rishi pic.twitter.com/QlqgNVcLCJ
— TeesPix.Photos - Teesside Photos (@TeesPix) August 12, 2022
Many local authorities no longer have a public swimming pool-meanwhile Rishi Sunak's swimming pool at his luxury mansion in Yorkshire is almost finished— Barbara (@BarbaraSutton15) August 11, 2022
Water shortage, what water shortage https://t.co/CkkYtRJUUm
— john sturgis (@sturgios) August 12, 2022
A drought is expected to be announced formally. There are hosepipe bans. Rishi sunak has a new swimming pool.— Hampshire magician (@Sean_Boon) August 12, 2022
Sunak was an investment banker before he turned to politics and rose to become the finance minister of UK. His wife Akshata Murty is the daughter of billionaire Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, and the couple’s private wealth has often become an issue of scrutiny.
Earlier this year, a political storm erupted when it emerged that Murthy benefited from her "non-domicile" tax status in the UK, shielding her overseas income from taxes at a time when they are rising for most Britons. Sunak was accused of hypocrisy for raising taxes for Britons in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, while his own family has seen millions of pounds in Infosys dividends shielded from his own ministry.
Rishi Sunak is head-to-head with Liz Truss in the race to become the next prime minister of the UK.
As the candidates continue to be grilled by Conservative Party members who will be voting in the election in hustings up and down the UK, the issue of soaring inflation and prices has dominated the agenda. "People can judge me on my record, reiterated Sunak in his BBC interview on Wednesday night, referring to his work as Chancellor through the COVID lockdown.
Sunak also promised to "go further" than what he has already announced if elected Prime Minister.
“I know millions of people are worried about inflation, particularly the cost of their energy bills. What I've said if I'm Prime Minister I will go further in supporting those families who most need support because the situation is worse than when I announced those measures earlier this year,” he said.(With inputs from agencies)