Rishi Sunak’s fortune buys nearly 300 million free school meals for financially challenged children, research says.
The new Prime Minister is being urged to introduce measures that will provide billions of pounds to help the poorest in society at a time when the cost of living crisis is expected to increase over winter.
The Labor MP’s figures show his £730m fortune, amassed with wife Akshata Murthy, buys 298,755,187 meals based on declared government spending.
The figures come as the living crisis continues to worsen, with official figures showing huge annual jumps in the prices of staples such as tea, chips and pasta.
Acknowledging the “profound” challenges facing the country, including rising fuel prices, Mr Sunak has come under pressure from campaigners to ease the burden of ordinary people.
Labor MP Richard Burgon told Metro.co.uk: “We now have the richest man in parliament planning to cut our public services. This is obviously the wrong choice.
“The prime minister knows from his own rich lifestyle that the super rich can afford to pay more taxes, unlike everyone else.
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“We need to raise tens of billions through a simple wealth tax on the richest. This could be used to invest in our basic services and build a society where we don’t need food banks.
Mr. Sunak, who is in his fourth day as prime minister, was seen to be at odds with the dire financial pressures ordinary people are experiencing.
The former businessman and his wife are the No. 10 richest people, with their combined wealth putting them at 222 on the Sunday Times Rich List. He took office at a time when the price of budget food in supermarkets rose by 17 percent in the year to September, according to the National Statistics Office.
Mr Burgon is a long-term campaigner on the wealth tax, which includes a number of measures such as ending lower taxes on wealth income compared to work income and removing non-state tax payer status.
Ms Murty has already benefited from the latest deal, which has saved her millions of pounds over the past few years. He has since agreed to pay UK tax on all his worldwide earnings.
As a party, Labor wants to extend a windfall tax on British oil and gas companies introduced by Mr Sunak when he was chancellor under the name of a 25% energy revenue levy.
The claims were given added weight today when energy giant Shell published figures showing it had doubled profits to £8.2bn in the three months to the end of September.
There is also a call to ease the strain by extending free school meals, with Jamie Oliver part of a coalition that wants children in all households to get free meals on Universal Credit.
Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has previously called for universal provision, with a new campaign now aiming to extend this provision to 800,000 young people.
A spokesperson for the Food Fund said: “Our latest figures show that there are nearly 14 million people, four million of whom are children, who are struggling to get food. We know that there are at least 800,000 children living in families receiving Universal Credit who do not receive free school meals.
“Healthy nutrition is essential for children to avoid obesity, focus in school, fulfill their academic potential and succeed in adulthood. That’s why the Food Foundation and dozens of other think tanks, charities and professional organizations are campaigning for the immediate extension of free school meals for children in households receiving Universal Credit.’
The charity is one of the leaders of the Feed the Future campaign, along with campaigners such as Fight Child Poverty, Impact on Urban Health, School Food Issues and Sustainability.
Figures in an online letter sent to MPs by supporters from the Coalition show that there are 800,000 children in England who live in poverty but are not guaranteed a “hot, nutritious meal every lunchtime” to help them “learn and concentrate at school”. .
In his first remarks as prime minister this week, Mr Sunak acknowledged the crisis facing the country, saying “there is no doubt we are facing a deep economic challenge”.
At prime minister’s questions, he said: “In times of trouble in this country, I always stand up for the most vulnerable. It’s a value for our compassionate party, we did it in Covid and we’ll do it again.”
Asked by Mr Burgon about the need to support the NHS through wealth tax, Mr Sunak said: ‘Whenever we approach the difficult decisions that face us, we do so fairly and compassionately because that is our values and that is what we want to deliver.’
The Prime Minister’s approach to the economic crisis should be clarified in the Autumn Statement, scheduled for November 17.
Metro.co.uk has contacted No 10 for further comment.
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