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Rishi Sunak – who is the new chancellor?

We profile the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and look at what he might have in store for his first budget on 11 March.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

There’s a new chancellor in charge at Number 11, Downing Street.

Following Sajid Javid’s recent resignation, Rishi Sunak was appointed in his place. At 39, his rise to one of the most senior roles in government has been meteoric. And with his first Budget fast approaching on 11 March, Mr Sunak has had to hit the ground running.

Elected as Conservative MP for Richmond, Yorkshire in 2015, Mr Sunak was a keen supporter of the Leave campaign in the EU Referendum. Boris Johnson selected him as his first chief secretary to the Treasury in July 2019, following previous roles as parliamentary under-secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and in Local Government from January 2018 to July 2019. He’s no stranger to the world of investing, having worked at Goldman Sachs and a hedge fund before his move into politics.

Rishi Sunak: three trivia facts

  • Sunak is married to Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Indian billionaire and co-founder of IT giant Infosys, Narayana Murthy.
  • He’s a big fan of Southampton Football Club.
  • Yorkshire Tea’s social media team recently had to deal with an online backlash, after Sunak posted a picture of himself with their product on Twitter.

How did Rishi Sunak become chancellor?

Sajid Javid’s resignation in February meant he became the shortest-serving chancellor since Iain Macleod, who died shortly after taking office in 1970. He’s only the second chancellor never to deliver a budget in his time at the Treasury.

In Javid’s own words, the prime minister’s ultimatum to fire his team of aides as part of the latest cabinet reshuffle was one that “no self-respecting minister” could accept. Tensions between Javid, Boris Johnson and the prime minister’s Chief Advisor, Dominic Cummings, were well-publicised. Number 10 were known to be pushing for more control over economic strategy, amid rumours fiscal policy is set to be loosened in order to honour Conservative spending commitments.

This puts Rishi Sunak in a difficult position. As one of Boris Johnson’s most trusted supporters, Sunak was often seen filling in for the prime minister during the last election, making 14 appearances on his behalf. But despite his obvious loyalty to Johnson, the new chancellor will want to avoid being seen as a nodding dog. The upcoming budget provides him with his first real opportunity to show what type of chancellor he might become.

What can we expect from Sunak’s first budget?

With their new majority in place and five years until they next have to go to the polls, we might expect this government to get some unpopular choices out of the way early on.

The budget represents their first opportunity to raise money for spending commitments, leading to rumours of tax rises and various proposals around a ‘mansion tax’, changes to pension tax relief and rises in fuel duty. The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) recently urged Rishi Sunak to raise taxes in the budget in order to avoid breaking borrowing rules. We recently highlighted some of the key ways to protect yourself from tax hikes for this very reason.

While it’s hard to predict how many of these rumours will come to fruition, or how the balance of power will settle between Sunak and Johnson, we’ll be watching closely and reporting on how any changes could impact your savings and investments.

Stay up to date with our Budget alerts

The budget is one of the most anticipated events of the year. The decisions announced by Rishi Sunak will impact the wealth of millions of people across the UK. We’ll be watching closely and reporting on how any changes could impact your savings and investments. Don’t miss out, register for our Budget updates now.

This article isn’t personal advice. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on personal circumstances.


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    Article image credit: Getty images / Chris J Ratcliffe

    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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