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05:08

British politics live: Tory energy strategy looks more like a ‘three, four, five year response’, admits minister |  Politics

Rupert Neat

Rishi SunakThe multi-millionaire wife of claims non-domicile status, it has emerged, saving her millions of pounds in tax on dividends collected from her family’s IT empire.

Akshata Murthywhich receives around £11.5million in annual dividends from its stake in Indian IT services company Infosys, is declaring 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. The company’s most recent accounts suggest Murthy’s stake would have earned it £11.6million in dividends in the last fiscal year.

Under UK tax laws, Murthy’s status as a non-dom would mean she would not have had to pay tax on the overseas company dividend payment. Infosys is headquartered in Bengaluru, India and is listed on the Indian Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. In contrast, UK resident taxpayers pay 38.1% tax on dividend payments.

A spokeswoman for Murthy said:

Akshata Murthy is a citizen of India, the country of her birth and the home of her parents. India does not allow its citizens to simultaneously hold the citizenship of another country. Thus, under UK law, Ms Murthy is considered not domiciled for UK tax purposes. She has always paid and will continue to pay UK tax on all her UK income.

The Treasury declined to comment.

It comes a day after it was revealed that Sunak and Murthy had donated more than £100,000 to the Chancellor’s former private school, Winchester College.

It is understood that Sunak, the Chancellor, declared his wife’s tax status to the Cabinet Office when he became a minister in 2018, and also raised awareness with the Treasury “in order to manage possible disputes”.

Tulip Siddiqthe shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, said:

The Chancellor has imposed tax hike after tax hike on the British people. It is amazing that at the same time, his family was able to benefit from tax reduction programs. This is yet another example of the Conservatives thinking this is one rule for them, another for everyone else.

Rishi Sunak must now urgently explain how much he and his family saved on their own tax bill at the same time he raised taxes on millions of working families and chose to leave them £2,620 a year.

Learn more here:

04:54

Boris Johnson said “nuclear is coming home” as a result of the government’s energy strategy.

In a video shared on social media to promote the plan, which is finally released on Thursday after repeated delays and cabinet wrangling, the prime minister said:

In the country that was the first to split the atom, the first to truly harness its power to light our homes and power our factories, we will again lead the way. Nuclear is coming home.

Thus, instead of having a new reactor every ten years, we will have a new reactor every year.

For years, governments have dodged major energy decisions, but not this one.

We have the ambition, we have the plan and we will bring safe, clean and affordable electricity to people for generations to come.

04:43

The commercial secretary, Kwasi Kwartengsaid it was ‘completely unfair’ to scrutinize the tax affairs of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s non-domiciled wife, Akshata Murti.

He told Sky News:

It’s completely unfair to bring in someone who isn’t a politician and basically attack them in a way that’s happening.

She made it very clear that as an Indian national she cannot have dual citizenship and she has non-dom status here in the UK.

Now, after 15 years here, she will be domiciled, but at the moment she pays tax on UK income, as I understand it, and on foreign income she pays tax outside the UK – c is what the non-domiciled status means.

But I’m not here to comment on his tax affairs.

He added:

I’m totally comfortable with people who have businesses, people doing what they do as private citizens, I’m totally comfortable with that.

I’m no expert on his financial arrangements, but I think people have every right to pursue their own business arrangements.

I come here to make it very clear that I think her tax affairs are her business.

04:38

A former chief executive of Ofgem has said the government’s energy security strategy is doing little to address the cost of living crisis and failing to improve the efficiency of homes.

Dermot Nolan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

Frankly, it’s not something radically new and different.

The disturbing thing to say in a time of rising energy prices is that there is very little that can be done in the short term.

Most of these decisions will take a long time to have an impact and in the short term we will continue to be dependent on fossil fuels and the prices consumers will pay will always depend on the price of gas.

A failure, which could have helped in the short and medium term, is the lack of attention to energy efficiency, insulation, improving the quality of housing – I think this is a missed opportunity .

04:26

Ed Miliband said a few Tory backbenchers were “holding the government’s energy policy hostage”.

Speaking to the BBC, Labour’s shadow climate change and net zero secretary said:

Onshore wind is the cheapest and fastest form of energy we can get.

It’s been stalled since 2015 because of government rules, not because of public opinion…but because a few Tory backbenchers are holding the government’s energy policy hostage…and people pay higher bills as a result.

Ministers have pledged cleaner and more affordable energy in the UK, aiming to make 95% of electricity low-carbon by 2030.

Miliband added:

The government wanted to aim to double onshore wind power… the equivalent of building five new nuclear power plants by 2030.

I am in favor of new nuclear, but the plants the government is talking about today will not be built for at least a decade. This is why this strategy is so deeply flawed.

04:15

Nicholas Slawson

The Business Secretary admitted that the government’s energy security strategy will do little to help alleviate soaring fuel bills now, adding that it is “more of an average response of three, four , five years” before its reveal later that day.

Pressured by the impact this will have on energy bills now, Kwasi Kwarteng told Sky News:

You are right to say that the strategy is more of a medium-term response, over three, four or five years, but that does not mean that we cannot solve this problem.

It is really important that we have an energy strategy, an energy policy, which means that we can have more security and independence in the coming year.

Kwarteng was asked if his department is deprioritizing goals to reduce the climate crisis, which he dismissed:

I think the net zero legislation is, after all, in the law, we’re focusing on that.

But, of course, given what’s going on in the world, given the pressure on energy prices, we’re also doing a lot of other things to make sure we get return of energy independence to the UK.

Welcome to Today’s Politics Live Blog. I am Nicholas Slawson and I’m going to take the lead today. You can contact me on Twitter (@Nicola_Slawson) or email (nicola.slawson@theguardian.com) if you have any questions or think I’m missing something.

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