UK: Rishi Sunak-Akshata Murty’s wealth rise by £120m in a year

The personal fortune of Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, has increased by £120 million as the next general election approaches, according to recent figures.

The latest Sunday Times Rich List reveals that their wealth has grown significantly while many Britons face cost-of-living challenges. The couple’s current fortune is estimated at £651 million, up from £529 million in 2023.

This increase is likely to reinforce public perceptions of Sunak’s affluence. Previous surveys have shown that the public overwhelmingly describes the prime minister as “rich.”

The rise in their wealth last year was largely due to Murty’s shares in Infosys, the $70 billion Indian IT company co-founded by her billionaire father. Her stake increased in value by £108.8 million, reaching nearly £590 million.

However, the couple’s wealth is still below its 2022 level, which was about £730 million.

Despite his government trailing in polls behind Labour, Sunak, in a recent ITV’s Loose Women appearance, affirmed his commitment to remain an MP even if the Conservatives lose the next election. He expressed his love for being an MP and for his home in North Yorkshire.

Sunak’s family also owns an apartment in Santa Monica, California. He spent much of his 20s and early 30s on the US west coast and met Murty at Stanford Business School. His interest in technology and AI has led to speculation that he might pursue a job in Silicon Valley.

The rich list also shows an increase in King Charles’s wealth, from £600 million to £610 million.

The number of British billionaires has continued to decline, following a trend from 2023. The number peaked at 177 in 2022, dropped to 171 last year, and has fallen again to 165 this year. This decrease is attributed to some billionaires’ private wealth contracting amid high borrowing rates and others leaving the country.

Robert Watts, the compiler of the list, remarked, “This year’s Sunday Times Rich List suggests Britain’s billionaire boom has come to an end. Many homegrown entrepreneurs have seen their fortunes decline, and some global super-rich who moved here are leaving.”

According to the data, the combined wealth of Britain’s 350 richest individuals and families is £795.36 billion. The list is once again topped by Gopi Hinduja and his family, who control the Indian conglomerate Hinduja Group. Their wealth increased to £37.2 billion from £35 billion.

Meanwhile, the fortunes of several high-profile UK billionaires have declined due to challenging business and investment environments. Jim Ratcliffe, James Dyson, and Richard Branson all saw decreases in their net worths.

Ratcliffe, the Manchester United investor and Ineos founder, experienced the biggest drop, with his net worth falling by more than £6 billion to £23.52 billion.

Dyson’s wealth decreased from £23 billion to £20.8 billion, and Branson’s wealth fell from £4.2 billion to £2.4 billion after a difficult year for Virgin Galactic.

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