Rishi Sunak's £95 sandals slide up Budget Day agenda

British Chancellor strikes casual pose in traditional eve-of-Budget photoshoot

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has trailed a series of eye-opening Budget announcements before he lifts the lid on the UK’s finances on Wednesday – but it was his casual socks and slider sandals that raised eyebrows.

The Treasury released pictures of Mr Sunak making final preparations for his speech in his official residence in Downing Street, central London.

Wearing a grey jumper, white socks and a pair of black slider sandals – costing £95 ($131) from Palm Angels clothing company – Mr Sunak pored over the speech armed with a Twix chocolate bar and a can of Sprite.

His red box open, Mr Sunak held his speech in one hand and stroked his dog with the other. “I hope you find it more engaging than Nova did,” he wrote.

A casual eve-of-Budget photoshoot has become part of the traditional choreography of the day, along with the red box hoisted by the chancellor in Downing Street before being driven to the House of Commons.

Former chancellor George Osborne was ridiculed in 2013 for posing with an expensive takeaway burger at a time when many people had their pay frozen.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor under former prime minister Theresa May, made do with a cup of tea while looking over his 2017 budget.

Mr Sunak’s photoshoot is the latest addition to a growing personal brand which is seen in some quarters as laying the groundwork to become prime minister.

The chancellor, 41, was mocked in some quarters for the cost of his footwear – while others thought they sent the wrong message.

“Sliders for the man that endlessly flips on his promises and has policies that flop,” joked comedian Tiernan Douieb.

“He is showing out like a suburban dad doing the bins,” said writer Miranda Sawyer.

Wes Streeting, an MP from the opposition Labour Party, contrasted the show of luxury with Britain’s economic difficulties.

Earlier this month, the government ended a temporary £20-a-week increase to universal credit payments that had been introduced during the pandemic to support people on low incomes.

“I don’t care if the Chancellor chooses to spend £95 of his money on a pair of flip-flops, but I do care that he’s so out of touch that he doesn’t understand the impact of taking £20 a week off low-paid workers and what it means for 200,000 kids pushed into poverty by his policy,” Mr Streeting said.

Mr Sunak revealed this week that the Twix and can of Sprite were part of a “pre-match routine” for major appearances in the Commons.

“My favourite thing is Coke but I save that for afterwards,” he told Times Radio. Indeed, he keeps a Star Wars-themed Coke bomb on his desk at all times.

Mr Sunak said his children “have a lot of input generally on the tie selection and I sometimes wear some bracelets that they make”.

Updated: October 27th 2021, 9:07 AM
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