Rishi Sunak has donated more than £ 100,000 to Winchester College – one of the most expensive private schools in the country, Sky News can reveal.
Mr Sunak has continued to give money to the school, where he was head boy, since becoming chancellor.
The money funds bursaries for children whose parents would otherwise not be able to afford to send them to school. The school charges £ 43,335 a year, or £ 14,445 a term.
Mr Sunak is listed in the latest edition of the school magazine, the Wykeham Journal, alongside his wife Akshata Murthy as “Wykeham benefactors” – individuals “whose total donations to Winchester College (including pledges) are greater than £ 100,000”.
The chancellor’s spokeswoman said: “Rishi and his wife have donated to numerous charities and philanthropic causes for many years and will continue to do so.
“These donations are made to help fund scholarships for children who would not otherwise have the opportunity to go to Winchester.”
‘Winchester is part of the reason I’m chancellor’
In a recent interview on Sky News, Mr Sunak said of his time at Winchester: “I was really lucky to have that opportunity. It was something that was really extraordinary, it certainly put my life on a different trajectory.
“As I said, it’s part of the reason I’m sitting here and I’m really grateful to have had that opportunity.
“And I look back on that time. It’s helped make me who I am as a person, and it helps me do the job in the way that I do it.
“And it confirms to me that education is one of the best tools at our disposal in politics to spread opportunity.”
The Wykeham Patrons Club
Mr Sunak became an MP in 2015, a minister in January 2018, entered the cabinet in 2019 and became chancellor in January 2020.
He is listed for the first time as a member of the “Wykeham Patrons” club in 2014, which means he had donated more than £ 25,000 in the previous five years.
In 2015, he is listed again, but this time he is named jointly alongside his wife. They both remain in the “Wykeham Patrons” club until 2020, when he and his wife also joined the “Wykeham Benefactors” club, which denotes they have donated more than £ 100,000.
No growth in state school budget for 15 years
The news of the donation comes at a time when questions have been raised about the size of the state school budget, which increased in Mr Sunak’s autumn spending review.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), concluded, however: “The 2021 spending review included an extra £ 4.4 billion for the schools budget in 2024 as compared with previous plans.
“When combined with existing plans, we project that spending per pupil in 2024 will be at about the same level as in 2010.
“Whilst this will reverse past cuts, it will mean 15 years with no overall growth in spending.
“This squeeze on school resources is effectively without precedent in post-war UK history.”
The IFS says that in 2020-21, private schools spent almost double per pupil – 92% more – than state schools.
A millionaire married to a billionaire’s daughter
The cost of living crisis has brought questions about the chancellor’s personal wealth into sharp relief, as it left Tory MPs asking whether it has left the less well off enough cash to live on.
Mr Sunak is a millionaire in his own right, and his wife is the daughter of a billionaire, NR Narayana Murthy, who founded the tech consultancy Infosys.
Infosys is understood to be closing down its Moscow office after questions last week over their operations directed at Mr Sunak after the spring statement.
He owns a property in California and despite speculation he is abroad, Mr Sunak is understood to be in London.
Clare Foges, a Tory Number 10 aide and speechwriter under David Cameron, wrote this week: “I have come to realize that what talents Sunak has will, perhaps unfairly, always be overshadowed by the mountains of cash in his family’s vault.
“I do not think that the British public would be allergic to a plain old millionaire prime minister.
“Someone in the 1% of even the 0.1%, but by my calculations on Sunak’s family fortune puts him in at least the 0.0001%, and this is probably too far from the people he would lead.”