Since he became Chancellor of the Exchequer earlier this year Rishi Sunak has been showered with plaudits for his handling of the biggest economic and social crisis since the Second World War. Rishi comes from a privileged background, and his father-in-law is the billionaire founder of Infosys, NR Narayanamurthy.
But Rishi has also experienced the rigours of working in a curry house near Southampton docks. Customers at Kuti’s Brasserie are said to have fond memories of 18-year-old Rishi serving tables with charm and grace. Eponymous restaurant owner Kuti Miah is, it seems, an old family fiend and was happy to oblige when Rishi was looking for a bit of pocket money before going to University.
Kuti Miah has in fact known the Chancellor since he was two months old and recalls that the Sunak family regularly spent Christmas Eve at the restaurant. He has told a local newspaper that he always predicted great things for the Chancellor.
His shifts at Kuti’s came in the 1990s when the business was at Oxford Road. Today it is located at the city’s Royal Pier.
The second youngest ever Chancellor, Rishi is a Hindu, educated at Oxford, with a passion for Southampton Football Cub. While he is doubtless privileged he has strong community roots.
A politician with clear Conservative values, Rishi was also a supporter of the Leave campaign and has a pragmatic view on immigration. He has said: “I believe that appropriate immigration can benefit our country, but we must have control of our borders.”
Since being elected as MP for the Yorkshire seat of Richmond, Rishi’s journey has been extraordinary. Within three years he had been appointed as chief secretary to the Treasury, and in February this year, became Chancellor after Sajid Javid’s controversial resignation.
Then followed the pandemic and the rest, as they say, is history, with Rishi presiding over a massive £ 350 billion stimulus package to try and stave off the worst of the recession and save jobs.
One of the schemes that the restaurant sector has welcomed the most is “Eat out to help out” which offers a 50 % reduction on meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to a maximum of £10 per head, at eligible pubs, cafes and restaurants in August on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. VAT for the hospitality sector, previously 20%, has been cut to 5% until January 12, 2021.