What does Rishi Sunak earn?
As prime minister, Rishi Sunak is entitled to an annual salary of £167,391.
The prime minister’s earnings are made up of £80,807 for the role of Prime Minister, and an additional £86,584 for being an MP.
Sunak and his family, also have the right to live in the flat above the offices of 10 Downing Street; and enjoy the use of the Prime Minister’s official countryside residence at Chequers in Buckinghamshire.
In addition to his official salary as prime minister, Mr Sunak continues to receive income from his investments in a US based fund. In 2021/22 this investment fund is believed to have paid Mr Sunak a further £1.8 million.
This US based investment fund is listed as a ‘blind investment arrangement’ in the Register of MPs Interests. Mr Sunak can thus continue to receive income from his investments, without knowing where the money is invested, thereby avoiding any potential conflict of interests.
In March 2023, the prime minister published his tax return for 2021/22. This showed Mr Sunak to have total earnings of £1,970.992 for that tax year, on which he paid £432,493 of tax. Mr Sunak’s tax bill was made up of a mixture of income tax (charged at 45% on earnings over £150,000) and capital gains tax of 20%.
How does the prime minister’s salary compare?
On its own, and without his extra investment income, the salary paid to the prime minister places him or her in the top 1% of earners in the UK.
However, the prime minister’s official salary is less than a twentieth of the median take home pay of the Chief Executives of the UK’s top FTSE 100 Companies (estimated at £3.61 million per year in 2020).
The prime minister may be a well known figure, but his substantial earnings, nevertheless appear even more miniscule when compared to those of other well known celebrities. For example, Rishi Sunak’s public salary is little more than a “seventieth” of that earned by Manchester United footballer and political campaigner, Marcus Rashford (£10.4 million).
The British prime minister’s salary also compares less favourably with the salary earned by other world leaders.
Converted into US dollars, Rishi Sunak’s salary totals around $180,000. That is lower than that of the Canadian prime minister ($267,041), and considerably less than the $369,727 earned by Germany’s Chancellor.
The British prime minister’s earnings are only half that of the amount paid to both the US President ($400,000), and those paid to the President of the European Commission ($405,000).
Who sets the Prime Minister’s salary?
Rishi Sunak’s salary is set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
It is not yet clear whether Rishi Sunak will claim the full salary to which he is entitled. In 2020-21, Boris Johnson chose to claim £75,440 out of a possible total of £79,936 earmarked specifically for his work as Prime Minister, in addition to that of his salary as an MP.
Rishi Sunak’s wider wealth
Rishi Sunak and his wife, Ms Ms Murty, are said to have a wider wealth of £730 million. His wife is the daughter of billionaire, Narayana Murthy, founder of the Indian computer firm Infosys, and she continues to hold a notable share holding in the company.
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Sunak and his wife are the 222nd wealthiest people in the UK. Their wealth was said to be twice that of the £350 million of the late Queen, Queen Elizabeth II.
Sunak is the first serving the ever to sit in the House of Commons, let alone Downing Street. ever to make the since it was created in 1989. He is by far the wealthiest MP at Westminster, and can probably stake a claim to be
The earnings of former prime ministers
The real earnings potential for prime ministers does though appear to come after they have left office.
All recent UK prime ministers have been able to command substantial sums for speaking engagements. Indeed the going rate for a lecture by a recent former Prime Minister is said to be in excess of £100,000.
Since leaving office, Theresa May is said to have earned well from a number of such lucrative engagements including her speech to the Ivy League University, Brown, in Rhode Island, America. The Guardian newspaper claims that Theresa May has earned more than £2.1m since leaving office in July 2019.
In addition to speaking engagements, a former Prime Minister can expect to sign a lucrative book deal, and be courted for a number of advisory style appointments.
A former Prime Minister’s earnings are also likely to be influenced by their international recognition and longevity in the job. A highly recognisable figure around the world, this should continue to bode particularly well, for Boris Johnson. In the first 9 months after stepping down as prime minister, Mr Johnson earned some £4.8 million, primarily from speeches and book deals.
It is suggested that former Labour leader, Tony Blair, is currently the highest earning former Prime Minister in British history. He has previously been fated as the highest earning public speaker in the world. After leaving Downing Street, Blair secured well paid advisory roles with Zurich Financial Services and JP Morgan Chase. Back in 2014, Tony Blair was keen to insist that at that point, that his net worth was though less than £20 million.