Rishi Sunak spent £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash on 'repairing his image' and did the opposite

Rishi Sunak spent £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash on 'repairing his image' and did the opposite

Related video: Rishi Sunak denies he's out of touch with cost of living crisis

ITV News

Not long after making the Sunday Times Rich List, it’s now been revealed Chancellor Rishi Sunak has splashed half a million pounds on focus groups to “repair his image” – news which has only done the opposite.

Treasury contracts show researchers have been hired to conduct two focus groups and a national online poll every week until February next year, with Labour claiming the total cost will hit more than £1.35 million.

And it comes just days after Mr Sunak told MPs that “trying to borrow and spend our way” out of the cost of living crisis is “the wrong approach”, with the government taking a “careful, deliberate approach” instead.

Like spending huge chunks of public money on polling, apparently.

In a statement to the Commons last Tuesday, Mr Sunak said: “We will act to cut costs for those people without making the situation worse. We will continue to back people who work hard - as we always have - and we will do more to support the most vulnerable.

“And, unlike others, we will not simply borrow our way out.”

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Responding to sum being spent on focus groups, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner slammed the move as “little more than a taxpayer-funded vanity exercise for a chancellor desperate to repair his image”.

“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,” she said.

And looking at Twitter this morning, it seems like Mr Sunak could find out what the public think of him for free:

So less focus groups and more focussing on his actual job, then – that makes sense.

A Treasury spokesperson said of the cash: “The Treasury conducts regular polling to help develop and measure the impact and understanding of its policies. All polling is subject to the usual tender process, ensuring the best value for taxpayers’ money.”

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