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Sunday, Apr 11, 2021

Rishi Sunak's wealthy wife 'claimed up to £100,000 from furlough' to pay staff

Rishi Sunak's wealthy wife 'claimed up to £100,000 from furlough' to pay staff

Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s wife – one of Britain’s wealthiest women – is said to have claimed up to £100,000 from the coronavirus furlough scheme for her business.

Akshata Murthy, 41, thought to be richer than the Queen, has reportedly accepted the taxpayer handouts for boutique gym Digme Fitness Limited.

Ms Murthy is listed on Companies House as a director of the business, which has been forced to close a string of high-end exercise studios across the capital and in Oxford due to the pandemic.

‘Transparency data’ on the coronavirus retention scheme, published on the Government’s website yesterday, revealed Digme Fitness Limited registered a claim between £50,001 and £100,000.

Ms Murthy is the daughter of Indian billionaire N.R. Narayana Murthy and is believed to hold £430 million shares in his technology company, Infosys.

She also has a 4.5% stake in Digme Fitness Limited, according to the Mirror.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s wife, Samantha, also claimed up to £10,000 from the furlough scheme, the recently published data showed.

The 49-year-old’s company, Samantha Cameron Studio Limited, runs her London-based fashion label, Cefinn, which she founded in 2017.

Ms Murthy, whose dad is a billionaire, is thought to have claimed up to £100,000 from the Government’s coronavirus retention scheme


Mrs Cameron, who is also creative director of the luxury clothing brand, recently told the BBC how post-Brexit difficulties had made trading in Europe ‘challenging and difficult’.

But the company ended its 2019 financial year around £1.6 million in the black, according to the Mirror, thanks to capital previously injected into the business.

Several Love Island stars are also said to have used the furlough scheme to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic.

Victoria Beckham also faced a backlash when it emerged she had put 25 staff working on her VB fashion label on furlough.

Samantha Cameron is also believed to have claimed up to £10,000 from the furlough scheme


She claimed the uproar was ‘unfair’ – but Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan said the claim makes him ‘puke’.

Pippa Middleton’s billionaire husband, James Matthews – and his brother, Made In Chelsea star Spencer – are also said to have taken taxpayers’ cash to pay employees.

Former England rugby player Mike Tindall, married to the Queen’s granddaughter, Zara Phillips, is also said to have accepted handouts.

It comes as Mr Sunak is expected to extend the furlough scheme and business rates relief into the summer when he announces his spring budget next week.

The Chancellor is said to be planning a ‘tax raid on wealthy pensioners’ in a desperate bid to make a dent in mounting Covid debts and plug holes the nation’s finances.

He is also thought to be considering slashing alcohol tax in pubs as part of a ‘giveaway’ budget, due to be announced in the House of Commons next Wednesday, March 3.

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