While wealthy Rishi Sunak hopes to take the plunge as our New Prime Minister, it’s revealed that things aren’t going swimmingly for his poor constituents.
In fact, it’s a case of him swimming and them sinking, because they’re on the verge of losing their popular public baths which look set to close because of soaring energy bills, but in the meantime, their MP is splashing out thousands on a new private pool in the grounds of his £1.5 million mansion, with the multi-millionaire encountering no hardship paying running costs of approximately £13,000 a year.
The troubled waters in Richmond, North Yorkshire, emerged as the latest figures reveal an astonishing 79 per cent of community swimming pools around the country face closure in the economic situation.
The vital leisure facility at the heart of Rishi Sunak’s constituency serves 2,000 people a week, operating as a charitable venture. He’s even proudly visited the pool, which has been serving the town since 1976.
Almost 700 children a week go there to learn to swim, either in after clubs or part of school lessons. But now it faces a four hundred per cent hike in bills, taking gas and electricity costs from £63,600 to £315,000 per year, with no chance of any government support.
Only household consumers are protected by Ofgem’s energy price cap to keep tariffs down, community leisure establishments and schools face the same surging bills as businesses.
It comes in a week when British Gas owner Centrica reported a fivefold growth in profits, to £1.34 billion.
Austin Gordon, general manager at Richmond Pool, said the bills it faced were horrendous and it would be forced to close, like thousands of others, without support from the possible prospective Prime Minister, who lives just 18 miles away with a pool of his own.
Rishi Sunak and heiress wife Akshata Narayan Murty bought their gated Grade II listed manor near Northallerton, North Yorkshire, in 2015. Last year, the couple applied for a new stone building on a paddock to accommodate a gym, a 12×5 metre pool, four showers and storage.
Mr Gordon said, it’s ironic Rishi Sunak has just built a pool for himself, while his constituents face losing theirs.
He said the quotes that have come back so far have gas prices which will be a nearly 600 per cent increase and electricity at 300 per cent, which is horrendous.
He said pools are high energy users and they have to keep thousands of gallons at a specific temperature, and that they have energy-saving measures already in place but when you start applying numbers like that to it, it makes it impossible, and he said he’s been in the industry 35 years and there’s never been anything like this.
The best thing to do when his swimming pool has been completed is to just form a long queue outside his house with your trunks covered up in a towel, that way we can use his swimming pool instead. Mind you, his pool should come with a warning sign ‘If the pool is as shallow as him, then don’t dive in’.
The Tories obviously lack self-awareness and are out of touch with people, but apparently, we’re not entitled to say that, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.
What Rishi Sunak should do as a truly nice gesture and one that he could readily afford is agree to foot the bill or at least part of it for maintaining the swimming pool. The council could even name it after him so that he gets plenty of the glory. At least that way he can bask in his own pool with a clear conscience, but he will do that anyhow.