Thursday briefing: Upset over Sunak’s wife’s tax status |

Headline-grabbing: Millionaire Akshata Murthy has out-of-home status

Hello everybody. I’m Martin Farrer and here are the stories you need to know today.

Rishi Sunak’s multi-millionaire wife is claiming non-domicile status, it has emerged, saving her millions of pounds in tax on dividends collected from her family’s IT empire. Akshata Murthy, who receives around £11.5million in annual dividends from his stake in Indian IT services company Infosys, declares non-dom status, a scheme that allows people to avoid tax on foreign income. Murthy, the daughter of the billionaire founder of Infosys, owns a 0.93% stake in the tech company worth around £690m.

Tulip Siddiq, the Treasury’s shadow economic secretary, said Sunak should explain how much tax his family saved as “he raised taxes for millions of working families”. Non-domicile status is legal and can be used to avoid paying UK tax on overseas rental income and bank interest and overseas dividends. The Treasury declined to comment. A spokesperson for Murthy said India does not allow dual nationality, “so under UK law Mrs Murthy is treated as not domiciled for tax purposes in the UK. She still has and will continue to pay UK tax on all their UK income.

More than one in 10 residents of some of London’s wealthiest neighborhoods have claimed ‘non-dom’ status at some point, meaning they have paid no tax on their offshore earnings. The number of people who have ever claimed non-dom status in the UK has risen from 162,000 in 2001 to 238,000 in 2018. And a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies says the top 0.1% earners in the UK have annual incomes above £500,000, showing the effect of ‘unfair’ tax rates offered to business owners. More than 50,000 people in the top income bracket account for 6% of all income.


Ukraine last – Volodymyr Zelenskiy says new western sanctions on Russia don’t go far enough and will be seen by invading forces as “permission to attack”, amid fears of an assault on the east of the country were escalating and that civilians still there were being urged to leave “while the opportunity still exists”. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said authorities would be “unable to help” residents left behind once large-scale fighting broke out. Our reporter in kyiv tells the heartbreaking story of a grandfather who fears that his granddaughter, orphaned by the fighting in Mariupol, will be taken to live in Russia. A Russian teacher could be jailed after students recorded her making anti-war comments in class and posted them online where they were discovered by police. Here’s what we know so far as of Day 43 of the invasion, and you can follow all the latest developments on our live blog.


Go nuclear – Boris Johnson will launch Britain’s new energy strategy today with nuclear power at the heart of the long-term plan, but ministers refused to set targets for onshore wind and pledged to continue oil and North Sea gas. The strategy will enrage environmentalists, who say the government’s plans defy its own net-zero targets and overlook alternative measures that experts say would relieve high energy bills much faster. Highlights include increasing nuclear capacity from 7 gigawatts to 24 GW, increasing offshore wind target to 50 GW (from 11 GW today), quintupling solar growth from 14 GW to 70 GW d 2035 and an ‘unbiased’ review of fracking safety.


Cancer concern – More patients are diagnosed with cancer in A&E in Britain than in other comparable high-income countries. A major study in the Lancet The Oncology Journal revealed that more than a third of patients in England, Scotland and Wales discover they have the disease once they are in hospital. People who end up in A&E, sometimes after several visits to their GP, are less likely to survive the disease, especially if they have cancer of the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, lungs or ovaries.


Conversion line – About 50 Tory MPs could force the government to strengthen its ban on conversion practices by backing a move to extend protections to transgender people. Campaigners fighting to ban the controversial exercise said ‘the battle is still ongoing’ and remained confident No 10 would either be swayed or defeated in the months remaining. The Prime Minister said yesterday that he ‘didn’t think biological men should compete in women’s sporting events’.


Taylor Swift’s lyrics could help students learn Latin. Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus? Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

The Swift Empire – Latin teachers are encouraged to use lyrics by Taylor Swift, Disney songs, Minecraft, and fan fiction to help make the ancient language of Virgil and Cicero more accessible. A Cambridge scholar produced a new guide this suggests that Latin should be taught more like a modern foreign language, where students are encouraged to speak, sing, play, or write creatively. Among their hits was Taylor Swift’s hit Bad Blood, the chorus of which was translated as Quod, care, nunc malum sanguinem habemus, and drop (Libera) of the Snow Queen.

Today Podcast in the spotlight

The first round of French elections takes place this Sunday with Emmanuel Macron claiming a second term. But to do this, he must beat a resurgent extreme right, explains our Parisian correspondent Angélique Chrisafis.

Today in brief

Can Macron contain the far right?

Lunchtime Reading: How Sheffield Estate Survived Enemies

Student housing (Phase 3).  Hill Park, Sheffield
Photography: Oliver Wainwright

Described as a no-go zone in the 1980s, the huge Park Hill building complex in Sheffield was almost razed like many of its neighbors. But an often painful redevelopment breathes new life into it, writes Oliver Wainwright.

sport

A dejected Thomas Tuchel said Chelsea’s position in the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid was irrecoverable after their 3-1 first-leg defeat at Stamford Bridge and called his side’s dip in form a ‘”alarming”. It was, however, a triumph for Madrid continuity, thanks to a hat-trick from 34-year-old Karim Benzema. In last night’s other quarter-final, Villareal beat Bayern Munich 1-0. Everton’s relegation troubles deepened with a 3-2 loss to Burnley, who are now just a point clear of the Merseysiders. Eric ten Hag is confident of becoming Manchester United’s next manager after talks with the club. Anticipation is mounting in Augusta over Tiger Woods’ return to the Masters later today, and it’s also the return of the County Cricket Championship today. And rugby lost one of its greatest yesterday with the death of Scottish and Lions prop Tom Smith from cancer at the age of 50.

Business

Swedish retailers Ikea and H&M are teaming up to create an ‘idea factory’ on the high street which aims to source, mentor and promote designers and small makers. Atelier 100 will open in London in May and is today launching an open call for creatives and producers based within 100km of the store to help stock its shelves. The FTSE100 will take a hit of around 0.25% this morning. The pound is on $1.307 and €1.198.

The papers

Front page of the Guardian 04/07/22
The front page of the Guardian for Thursday April 7, 2022. Photography: The Guardian

the shimmer leads with “Sunak’s wife tax fury”, and “Sunak’s wife” avoided tax “as a non-dom” is the splash in the I. the Guardian has this story to the front but leads with “the prime minister’s push for nuclear power dividing conservatives and angering green groups”, while the Times also has a photo of the Chancellor and his wife but leads with ‘UK to send armored vehicles to help Ukraine’. the Telegraph has a powerful dispatch from Ukraine and the headline “’What is that pit?’ I asked. They said, ‘This is a graveyard for you'”, while the FT goes hand in hand with “Western allies impose toughest sanctions yet on Russian banks.” the Express leads with “Thank you PM! Sports stars support Boris in the trans row”, and the Mail also leads with this controversy and the title “Finally, a voice of common sense”.

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