Sunak confesses taking money from deprived areas for political gain
A month-old video of the Former Exchequer Chancellor, who is running for prime minister, shows him making the confession last month in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to Conservative party members.
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak admitted to taking money from impoverished urban areas and redistributing it to wealthy parts of the country.
Sunak, who is running for prime minister, made the confession last month in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, to Conservative party members.
The Tory candidate said in a video obtained by the New Statesman, "I managed to start changing the funding formulas to ensure areas like this were getting the funding they deserved."
“We inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.”
Tunbridge Wells has a Tory majority of 14,645 and has been held by the party since the constituency was formed in 1974.
Sunak does not specify which funding formula or leveling up fund he is referring to in the video.
On her account, Labour’s Lisa Nandy, the shadow leveling up secretary, stated: “This is scandalous. Rishi Sunak is openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers’ money to rich Tory shires”.
“This is our money. It should be spent fairly and where it’s most needed – not used as a bribe to Tory members. Talk about showing your true colors,” she added.
Meanwhile, Sunak's Conservative colleagues were split on the video.
"This is one of the strangest - and dumbest - things I've ever heard from a politician," Foreign Office minister Zac Goldsmith said.
Sunak's supporters backed him, with Conservative Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen claiming that current PM and party leader Boris Johnson led the party to victory on a promise to invest in areas "that have been ignored at the expense of urban cities."
The public accounts committee - parliament's spending watchdog - has criticized the town fund's lack of rules. The leveling-up fund is supposed to spur economic growth, but there is no definition of what that entails and no way to measure success.
Sunak's campaign did not deny the video but claimed that he had transferred funds from inner-city areas to towns and poorer rural areas.
As party members begin voting, Sunak is said to be trailing Truss in the race to succeed Johnson as Prime Minister. However, the campaign still has a month to go before the results are announced on September 5th.
See more: Truss leads the race ahead of Sunak for the PM seat