Rishi Sunak’s wife has shares in childcare firm that will benefit from budget policy | Political News

Rishi Sunak’s wife is a shareholder in a childcare agency that will benefit from a major new policy announced in the spring budget.

The prime minister did not mention Akshata Murthy’s links to Koru Kids when he was questioned by MPs about why the financial announcement favored private firms.

But as first reported by the i newspaper, Companies House lists her as a shareholder in the organization as recently as 6 March.

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Childcare reform biggest ‘in my lifetime’

The Liberal Democrats said this raises “serious questions” for Mr Sunak and called for his ethics adviser, Sir Laurie Magnusto investigate.

This month Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a pilot of incentive payments of £600 for childminders joining the profession, a sum that doubles to £1,200 if they sign up through an agency.

At Parliament’s Liaison Committee on TuesdayLabor MP Catherine McKinnell quizzed Mr Sunak on the logic behind making the bonus twice as much for childminders who sign up through private agencies.

He told Ms McKinnell the policy was “designed in consultation with the sector”.

Pressed on the rationale, he said: “I think it’s a reflection of the fact that they are through intermediaries so there are additional costs.

“And, ultimately, we want to make sure the policy is effective in bringing additional people into the system.”

He told her he would “happily write back” to the committee on “exactly what conversations were had and the rationale”.

Asked if he had any interest to declare, Mr Sunak replied: “No, all my disclosures are declared in the normal way.”

Koru Kids is one of six childminder agencies in England listed on the government’s website.

It welcomed the budget on its website, saying the “new incentives open to childminders are great”.

It said a bonus of “£1,200 – yes double” would be paid “if you come through an agency like Koru Kids who offer community, training and ongoing support”.

Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “There are serious questions for Rishi Sunak to answer about any potential conflict of interest, and any extra income his family could receive from his own government’s policy.

“Too often we have seen Conservative sleaze run amok. The public must be reassured that any breach of the ministerial code by the prime minister will be fully investigated.”

A representative for Ms Murthy, the fashion-designer daughter of a billionaire, has been contacted for comment.

Mr Sunak mentions Ms Murthy’s venture capital company, Catamaran Ventures, in his list of ministerial interests, but does not mention Koru Kids.

Read more:
Who is Akshata Murty – and why are her family so wealthy?
The key points of Hunt’s budget speech

Ministers are expected to provide a written list of all financial interests that might “give rise to a conflict”.

The “interests of their spouse, partner or close family members” are included in the information expected to be handed over.

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But they may not appear on the finished list if there is deemed not to be an issue.

A spokeswoman for the prime minister said: “As the PM said yesterday, all interests have been declared in the usual way.”

Mr Sunak’s press secretary later acknowledged that details of Ms Murthy’s holding in the agency were not in the public domain but indicated they would be included in the updated statement of ministers’ interests due out in May.

“The ministerial code sets out a process by which ministers declare their interests. They do that in writing, in this case to the cabinet secretary. That process was followed to the letter by the prime minister,” she said.


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