Zarah Sultana on Politics Live

This week, the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak made his way onto the Sunday Times Rich List. He placed as the 222nd richest person in the UK, with his estate – jointly held with his wife Akshata Murthy – totalling an estimated £730 million. Sunak is the first frontline politician to have placed on the Sunday Times Rich List.

On today’s episode of Politics Live, Sunak’s multi-millionaire status was discussed at length, with guests discussing whether it had any bearing on his ability to be effective in his role.

Among the guests was Labour MP Zarah Sultana. She made the case that the wealth of Sunak affects the policies he and his government are implementing.

Sultana said,

If your wealth then effects the policies that you implement then I do think that you are not in the right job. Rishi Sunak – the wealthiest Member of Parliament – had a private school education, went to Oxford, became an investment banker, is married to the daughter of billionaires has overlooked policies that have taken away the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, has refused to really help people who are struggling through this cost of living crisis.

She went on to argue that Sunak can’t understand the difficulties working people face. She said,

One, he can’t understand the lived experience of working people and our communities across the country. But secondly, he’s making direct decisions that help the wealthiest.

So over the course of the last year, this Tory government have allowed £1 million in the tax cut to bankers, while reducing social security and pensions for ordinary working people.

But later in the show we went on to make a broader point about the government, beyond just Sunak. She made the case that the country is run by the rich, and for the rich.

Sultana said,

Look at this Conservative government. You have an Etonian who runs the country who says that the wage isn’t good enough. You have a Cabinet that is overwhelmingly privately educated, despite the population – only 6 per cent are privately educated. And they are directly funded by one third of UK billionaires.

And then their policies benefit those people that are supporting them – the wealthiest in our society. And that’s why we are having inflation at 9 per cent, 10 per cent – and not the policies to address those issues.

Image credit: BBC screengrab

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