Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty climb the rich list as fortunes increase by £120 million

The personal fortune of Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, has increased by £120 million ahead of the next general election, figures show.

The Sunday Times’ latest annual rich list shows the couple’s fortune grew significantly at a time when millions of Britons were struggling with the cost of living. Sunak and Murty’s wealth is estimated at £651 million in the latest list, up from £529 million in 2023.

The figures will reinforce public perception of Sunak’s wealth. In previous surveys, the public has overwhelmingly used the word “rich” to describe the prime minister.

The rise in the couple’s fortune last year was linked to Murty’s stake in Infosys, the $70 billion (£55.3 billion) Indian IT company co-founded by her billionaire father. Its shares rose in value by £108.8m to almost £590m for the year.

The couple’s wealth remains below its 2022 level, when it was estimated at around £730 million.

On Thursday, Sunak, whose government is trailing Labor in the polls, insisted he would remain an MP if the Conservatives lost the next election. Speaking on ITV’s Loose Women, he said: “Yes, of course I’m staying, I love being an MP, I love my constituents, I love my home in North Yorkshire, it’s great – and I love it great to be able to come back there. ”

His family owns an apartment in Santa Monica, California. Sunak spent much of his twenties and early thirties on the west coast of the US and met Murty at Stanford Business School. Sunak’s interest in technology and AI has led to suggestions that he could get a job in Silicon Valley.

The rich list shows that King Charles’ wealth also grew over the year, from £600 million to £610 million.

The list notes that the number of British billionaires fell again, continuing a theme from 2023. The number of billionaires peaked at 177 in 2022, then fell to 171 last year and fell again to 165 this year, driven by private wealth. some are shrinking due to high interest rates, and others are leaving the country.

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Robert Watts, the list’s compiler, said: “This year’s Sunday Times rich list suggests Britain’s billion-dollar boom has come to an end. Many of our homegrown entrepreneurs have seen their fortunes decline and some of the global super-rich who came here are moving away.

“Thousands of British livelihoods depend to some extent on the super-rich. We will have to wait and see whether we have now reached the peak of billionaire, and what that means for our economy.”

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

Meanwhile, the fortunes of some of Britain’s most prominent billionaires shrank over the year, amid challenging periods for many businesses and investments. Jim Ratcliffe, James Dyson and Richard Branson also recorded declines this year.

Ratcliffe, the Manchester United investor and Ineos founder, was the biggest faller on the list; his net worth fell by more than £6 billion to £23.52 billion.

Dyson was the second biggest faller, falling from £23 billion to £20.8 billion. Meanwhile, Branson’s fortune fell from £4.2 billion to £2.4 billion after a challenging year for Virgin Galactic.

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