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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Money can't buy me love

In the same week that Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and his wife, Akshata Murty, made the rich list, as the 222nd wealthiest people in the UK, with a combined £730m fortune, the Independent reports that he is not above using other people's money to fix his standing with the electorate.

The paper says that Sunak is spending a further £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash on focus groups and polling, sparking a claim that he is trying to “repair his image”:

Researchers have been hired to carry out two focus groups and one national online poll each week until February 2023 – taking the total outlay over two years to more than £1.35m, Labour has said.

Angela Rayner, the party’s deputy leader, said the chancellor had shifted from testing public opinion about the Covid pandemic to making such spending “a permanent fixture”.

The new contracts were awarded after Mr Sunak “told the British people he has no money to ease the cost of living crisis and that cutting their energy bills would be ‘silly’,” she alleged.

“The government apparently has half a million to spend on spin doctors while Jacob Rees-Mogg is threatening to axe thousands of civil service jobs in the name of cost saving,” Ms Rayner said.

“At the start of the pandemic, the Treasury justified their spending on focus groups and polls as an emergency measure to test the impact of different policy options. But now this is little more than a taxpayer-funded vanity exercise for a chancellor desperate to repair his image.”

There was controversy when the first contract, worth £81,600, was handed to a Tory-run PR firm called Hanbury Strategy, founded by David Cameron’s former director of strategy.

The government said the purpose was “to inform immediate policy-making decisions and communications”, after Covid struck in 2020.

Two further contracts worth £205,680 and £552,862 were given to Hanbury in August and December 2020, again to test public opinion on the Treasury’s response to the continuing crisis.

But a new £500,000 contract with Deltapoll, described as being for the “provision of public opinion focus groups and online polling”, makes no mention of the pandemic, Labour pointed out.

Perhaps Sunak should take a lesson from Paul McCartney and his lyric 'money can't buy me love'. The sooner the better.
They will use taxpayer money to keep them in control.Their own money will be put into hidden accounts
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