Cost-of-living: Chancellor Rishi Sunak makes bizarre Will Smith comment while failing to act on this spiralling crisis – Scotsman comment

Most would agree that attacking a politician through their spouse is a rather low blow.

However when Chancellor Rishi Sunak sought to defend his wife, Akshata Murthy – under fire for her 0.9 per cent stake in IT giant Infosys, founded by her father, and its continued business in Russia – he chose a bizarre way to do so.

After comparing himself to Hollywood actor Will Smith and England cricketer Joe Roe, saying it had been “not the best of weekends for any of us”, he added: “... both Will Smith and me having our wives attacked. At least I didn’t get up and slap anybody.”

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The problem with the criticism of Murthy is that it is something for Sunak to talk about instead of much more serious matters.

What he should be focussing his energies on is the spiralling cost-of-living crisis, which he did so little to address in his recent Spring Statement.

Even before the increases in energy prices in recent months, one in four children in Scotland were living in poverty, along with one in five working-age people and 15 per cent of pensioners.

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And the staggering 54 per cent rise in Ofgem’s energy price cap from today means life will get significantly harder for them, many more will join their ranks, and most of us will feel more than just a pinch.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak must do more as cost-of-living crisis gets ever deeper (Picture: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

In response to calls for an emergency Budget to provide greater help to those struggling to heat their homes and afford enough food to feed their families, a UK Government spokesperson said they understood people were “struggling” but added “we can't shield everyone from the global challenges we face”.

However, without strong government action, today is likely to be remembered as a day when Britain’s poorest became poorer still and the point at which, for some, life became unbearably difficult.

Governments have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in society, but there is little sign that Sunak and co are particularly interested.

Perhaps the Chancellor is keeping something in his back pocket for the winter, but right now it feels like he’s more interested in making flippant remarks about Hollywood stars than rising to meet this great challenge with the imagination, commitment and sense of purpose that this country so badly needs from its leaders.

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