Rishi Sunak branded 'out of touch' once again over $3M donation to wife Akshata's university

Rishi Sunak faces a backlash over a $3 million donation he and his wife Akshata Murty once made to a private US college she’s an alumnus of.

Rishi Sunak branded 'out of touch' once again over $3M donation to wife Akshata's university
© Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images
Rishi Sunak branded 'out of touch' once again over $3M donation to wife Akshata's university

Details of Rishi Sunak’s £730 million wealth first emerged when he entered the competition for Conservative party leadership.

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People were outraged to find out that his billionaire heiress wife Akshata Murty was at the same time benefiting from legal but questionable non-dom tax status, despite residing in the UK.

The scheme allegedly allowed Rishi Sunak’s family to save millions on taxes over the past years.

Although Murty eventually gave up the controversial tax arrangement and Rishi Sunak admitted he hasn’t always been a millionaire, his critics were left believing he couldn’t relate to the financial hardship millions of Brits are still facing today from his privileged financial position.

Heated Twitter debate about Rishi Sunak’s real heightdidn’t make things easier for the politician who is now facing a fresh backlash over a generous $3 million / £2,4 million donation to a US college his wife Akshata Murty is an alumnus of.

Despite the payment having been made in 2018, critics have used the occasion to once again accuse the PM of being ‘out-of-touch’ with the UK reality.

What and where did Rishi Sunak donate?

Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty donated $3 million / £2,4 million to a computing lab at Claremont McKenna College in California, US. The UK First Lady studied economics and French as an undergraduate there.

To get tuition and board in this US-based college, you’d need to pay $86,500 / £70,000 a year.

Claremont McKenna’s hi-tech facility, sponsored by Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty, now reportedly features ‘top-of-the-range computers’ and ‘state-of-the-art chairs at £650 a throw’.

In recognition of the couple’s contribution that was made in 2018, three years after Rishi Sunak became MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire, the top-notch computer space is named the Murty Sunak Quantitative and Computing Lab.

The PM’s wife has been a member of the board of trustees at Claremont McKenna since 2011.

She earlier said that the idea to fund the computing lab was inspired by her billionaire father Narayana Murty, the founder of Infosys.

Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty’s names are also etched on a college’s Founders Wall that recognises individuals who have contributed more than $ 1 million / £800,000.

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Rishi Sunak’s critics struggle to find logic in his generous move.

Mirror reported that Claremont McKenna already has a $1.1 billion fortune thanks to its benefactors while UK schools ‘scrimp and save to afford even the basics’.

Leyburn Primary in Rishi Sunak’s constituency had to organise ‘a family fun day’ fundraising to purchase nine computers as a replacement for 15-year-old machines. The school raised £5,000 but is in desperate need of another £10,000 to buy more devices so that all the children in the class can use them at the same time.

Rishi Sunak declined the school’s invitation to attend their next fundraiser but offered to provide a raffle prize, Mirror wrote.

The Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson said:

Parents are being asked to contribute more and more to core school costs even as their own incomes shrink and costs soar.
Meanwhile, private schools in Britain and America are getting handouts from our out-of-touch Prime Minister’s own pocket. It is absolutely staggering.

A survey of 1,428 teachers by the Sutton Trust found 42% schools had cut back on IT equipment, up from 27% last year.

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Sources used:

- Mirror: 'Out-of-touch Rishi Sunak gives $3million to US college as UK schools can't afford basics'

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