Rishi Sunak‘s lavish private swimming pool complex at his North Yorkshire manor house has been pictured as he continues to battle Liz Truss to become the next Prime Minister.
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who like Ms Truss is facing questions over how they will deal with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy prices, has spent £400,000 on the new pool.
He is also building a gym and tennis courts at the £2million Georgian manor near Northallerton, with reports from earlier this year estimating he would have to pay £13,000-a-year to keep the new pool warm.
However, this figure may have risen dramatically over the last few months as energy prices have continued to surge, putting millions of people in the UK at risk of not being able to pay their bills.
Yesterday Mr Sunak, who has been criticised for building the pool while his local swimming baths in Richmond are forced to close due to rising energy bills, pledged to spend billions more to help people with the cost-of-living crisis.
The former investment banker, who made a fortune before becoming a politician, said there was a ‘moral responsibility’ to offer extra help, while also taking a swipe at Ms Truss’s plans to cut taxes.
He pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills – which he said could raise total support for families to around £700 to £800 – while energy bills look set to reach an eyewatering £4,400 after Christmas.
A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction
The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property
It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John’s Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister
The swimming pool at his Grade-II listed manor house, where he typically spends his weekends with his wife and two daughters, has been under construction for several months.
The 42-year-old applied to the local council to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year.
These plans, which included a 12-metre by five-metre swimming pool, were later approved by the council.
No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby.
Reports it would cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills.
The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year
It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool
No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year
Retired steel worker Leslie Porter, 69, told the Mirror: ‘Some people are having to choose between heating and eating. Bills are all rising and he does this. It’s obscene.’
Receptionist Hayley Hadden added: ‘He is a millionaire many times over and it looks like he is rubbing our noses in it. He doesn’t have to worry about paying his bills.’
It is one of a number of properties owned by Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy, who is the daughter of one of the richest men in India.
While he was chancellor the family lived in a flat above No 10 Downing Street, but earlier this year they moved to their £6.6 million mews house in Kensington.
The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room
Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills
Work has started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor earlier this year
They also own a £5.5 million home in Santa Monica in California, where Mr Sunak has been tipped to live if he decides to quit politics in the UK.
Mr Sunak, who worked as an investment banker for firms California, India and Britain, including Goldman Sachs, is known to use the Yorkshire property when Parliament is not in session and he doesn’t need to be in London.
As his battle to become the next Prime Minister with Ms Truss heats up, this week the pair exchanged a series of barbs over their approach to the cost-of-living crisis.
The ex-chancellor has been accused by his rival’s camp of ‘Gordon Brown-style politics’ with a ‘socialist tax and spend’ agenda.
In a swipe back at the Foreign Secretary tonight, Mr Sunak suggested Ms Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’.
Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis
He also insisted that ‘starry-eyed boosterism’ would not steer the country through the inflation crisis.
In another jibe at Ms Truss, Mr Sunak claimed he would ‘rather lose’ the contest to become PM than promise ‘false things I can’t deliver’.
Both he and Ms Truss have faced calls to pledge further support during the cost-of-living crisis after energy bills for typical households were this week forecast to soar to more than £4,200 next year.
‘I do feel a moral responsibility as prime minister to go further and get extra help to people over the autumn and the winter to help them cope with what is going to be a really difficult time,’ Mr Sunak said.
‘I think that is the right priority.’
Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’ as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary
The Foreign Secretary has faced pressure to match Mr Sunak’s promise of more direct support for families, after she previously steered away from pledging extra ‘handouts’ to ease the cost-of-living crisis.
Mr Sunak’s camp have accused Ms Truss of a ‘major U-turn’ after she today insisted she was not ruling out further cash payments.
But the Foreign Secretary has maintained that tax cuts – and boosting the economy – are her ‘priority’.
Ms Truss’s promise to cancel the National Insurance rise, scrap a planned increase in corporation tax, and remove green levies on energy bills appears to be proving popular with Tory members.
Mr Sunak has warned that Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans will worsen the inflation crisis and cause interest rates to rocket.
He insisted he was ‘prepared to lose this contest’ rather than ‘saying the easy things’ and not staying ‘true to my values’.