London: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has released his tax returns, revealing that the British-Indian leader paid more than GBP 1 million to the Exchequer since becoming a frontline politician in 2019.
The tax release is part of a transparency commitment the UK premier made in November last year.
Sunak, among the wealthiest British politicians, on Wednesday, revealed that he earned a total of GBP 4.766 million between 2019 and 2022 and paid GBP 1.053 million in tax – at a tax rate of around 22 per cent.
Over the last tax year, when he was the finance minister, the 42-year-old leader paid GBP 325,826 in capital gains tax and GBP 120,604 in UK income tax on a total income of GBP 1.9 million.
“I published my tax returns in the interests of transparency, as I said I would, and I am glad to have done that,” Sunak said during a visit to north Wales on Wednesday.
“I think ultimately what people are interested in is what I am going to do for them,” he added.
Sunak came under pressure to publish his tax returns after his financial affairs came under the spotlight during the Conservative Party leadership election campaign last year, which he lost to Liz Truss before being elevated to Prime Minister after Truss’ short-lived tenure at 10 Downing Street.
It followed the controversy around the non-domicile tax status of his wife, Akshata Murty, who has since relinquished the legal position, which meant she paid tax on her Indian earnings in India.
Murty, the daughter of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy said in April last year that she took the action to avoid the issue becoming a “distraction” for her husband, who was the UK chancellor of the exchequer at the time.
The Opposition Labour Party, which has often raised Sunak’s wealth in Parliament to claim he fails to fully empathise with those struggling with a cost-of-living crisis in the country, questioned the “much delay” of their publication.
“They [tax returns] reveal a tax system designed by successive Tory governments in which the prime minister pays a far lower tax rate than working people who face the highest tax burden in 70 years,” Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said.
The returns were published as MPs backed Sunak’s revised post-Brexit deal with the European Union (EU) to resolve the issue of avoiding a land border between UK territory Northern Ireland and neighbouring EU member-state Ireland. While his predecessors, former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, were among some Conservative Party MPs joining Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in voting against the agreement, it passed by 515 to 29 overall in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The Windsor Framework, unveiled by Sunak last month, rewrites the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol agreed upon by Johnson in 2019. The Tory MPs who voted against the new deal were among the supporters of the former PM, including former Indian-origin home secretary Priti Patel, who called upon Sunak to “negotiate a better deal”.