Tory chaos under Sunak has cost UK taxpayers £8.2bn, says Labour

Conservative turmoil under Rishi Sunak has cost the taxpayer £8.2bn and nearly a year in lost time, according to calculations by Labour’s political attack team.

On Tuesday the Labour party unveiled a website and a bill totting up the cost of ministerial reshuffles, policy U-turns, byelections and unnecessary ministerial expenses incurred under Sunak’s premiership.

The bill includes a £2.6bn emergency cash payment for the Home Office after unforeseen expenditure on hotels for asylum seekers, the £1.4bn spent on the now-scrapped northern leg of HS2, and the £4.1bn bill faced by homeowners coming off their fixed-rate mortgages in the next year, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.

As part of its calculations, Labour included a £40m Ministry of Defence contract for “VIP” helicopter rides, which Sunak personally intervened to keep.

The party highlighted several examples of ministerial waste, including the reported £34m cost of an office makeover at the Department for Education and the £15,000 damages bill paid to an academic whom the science secretary, Michelle Donelan, had falsely accused of supporting Hamas.

The bill also includes about £2m spent on holding eight byelections to replace Tory MPs who have quit under Sunak, and the estimated £33m cost of the decision not to hold a general election on the same day as the 2 May local elections.

Labour calculated that a month of working days has been lost to government reshuffles. It said that 314 days were being wasted because Sunak had so far decided not to call a spring election.

Conservative MPs privately note that the parliamentary schedule is sparse. The Commons is clocking off earlier on average than at any time since New Labour came to power in 1997, according to analysis by the Financial Times.

The last Labour government introduced the minimum wage, set up devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales and boosted health and education funding by £40bn within the space of 12 months.

Pat McFadden MP, Labour’s national campaign coordinator, said: “Rishi Sunak has presided over a Conservative party in chaos and has saddled the taxpayer with the bill. These shocking costs are the result of a party out of ideas, more interested in looking inwards than facing, and delivering for, the country.

“The country needs change and it is a Labour government that will deliver it.”

Tory MPs who have quit the Commons since Sunak became prime minister include Chris Pincher and Peter Bone, both of whom resigned as MPs after sexual misconduct scandals.

A byelection is due in Blackpool South on 2 May, after the Tory MP Scott Benton was found to be offering paid lobbying services to the gambling industry.

The most recent government reshuffle was held in March to replace two well-respected junior ministers who announced they were standing down – James Heappey, who resigned as armed forces minister, and Robert Halfon, who resigned as education minister. Halfon and Heappey have joined the dozens of Tory MPs who have said they will not be seeking re-election.

The Guardian