James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

23 May 2022, 11:39

By Seán Hickey

It is not right that the Chancellor boasts a £730 million fortune whilst the nation struggles through a cost of living crisis, James O'Brien declares.

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Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty entered the Sunday Times Rich List last week, with the Chancellor becoming the first British politician to make the cut.

Amid severe backlash to the news, Mr Sunak is reported to have spent £500,000 of taxpayers money on focus groups and polls to see how his image might be healed in the eyes of the electorate.

James O'Brien was reflecting on both stories, through the lens of the cost of living crisis.

"If you're the poor man at his gate, and you're looking at the rich man in his castle, you're thinking 'look, I don't want your castle, I just don't think i should be sitting at your gate begging for beans.'"

Read more: Cost-of-living gap between richest and poorest at highest level since records began

He clarified calls for more egalitarian tax rules to close the gap between rich and poor in a bid to help those worst hit by the cost of living crisis.

"No one is saying sackcloth and ashes for Elon Musk and Bill Gates, they're simply saying 'this is an odd little world we're building here.'"

Read more: Pensioner who's worked 'all his life' forced to survive off reduced supermarket food

Read more: 'Nonsense' to suggest Brexit to blame for surge in inflation, says Tory MP

James then noted that no matter your background, you'll be vilified for calling for more tax on the wealthy: "If it's not being the politics of envy that's causing you to question the economic situation of the place you live, it's champagne socialism."

Read more: Rich List Rishi Sunak 'could do anything with his life but he serves his country'

"Here's a system where the chancellor of the exchequer is reported to have a personal family fortune of £730 million while he is in charge of economic policy for a country in which a Cornwall food bank reported yesterday their clients are now turning off their fridges and running the risk of food poisoning and infections as a result because the cost of keeping the food they get from a food bank cold is a cost they can no longer afford."

"That's not right. that's not fair." He insisted.

"It is absolutely unjustifiable that the man in charge of economic policy in a country where people are turning off their fridges in order to save on energy costs has £730 million squirrelled away in his joint account."

James pointed to the madness of people being silenced for questioning such inequality, no matter their economic background: "Politics of envy to the left of me, champagne socialism to the right of me while people in the middle...oh, there isn't anyone left."

"Literally nobody is entitled to criticise."

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