British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced criticism for using a helicopter for a short trip from Southampton to London and back — a distance that according to people could have been covered in just over an hour on the train, UK-based media outlets reported. 

The recent splurge of a £1,000-an-hour journey funded by the taxpayer has been labelled a “photo opportunity” as Sunak travelled to Southampton to promote a policy. 

Media reports mentioned the flight records that showed that the copter left from RAF Northolt at around 8:53am (local time) reportedly on May 9, before landing at Wellington Barracks in Westminster to pick up Sunak. Later, it returned to Battersea Heliport in London around 1:00pm (local time).

As quoted by The Mirror, a Labour source said: “While Keir Starmer was working with 20 new Labour councils to bring in new cost of living action plans, Rishi Sunak was gallivanting around in a helicopter for a journey which would have taken an hour on the train. Last week, the British public told the Prime Minister to get his head out of the clouds – it seems he just isn’t listening.” 

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s spokesman defended the trip, saying: “His transport will vary depending on his time and where he’s going to make the best use of both his time and in the interest of the taxpayer. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on his time and he wants to make the most effective use of that time. Sometimes being able to get to and from places quickly is useful.” 

Cost of living crisis in UK

Such incidents have previously happened in Sunak’s tenure in office so far as citizens and members of the opposition pointed out his taste for luxury. He used a taxpayer-funded private jet to Scotland to launch “green” tax breaks in Jnausry then he also used the plane to make short trips to Blackpool and Leeds. 

The controversy regarding the trip has emerged amid a cost-of-living crisis, which is expected to worsen further as the Bank of England on Thursday (May 11) lifted its key interest rate to the highest level since the 2008 financial crisis. The inflation remained stubbornly high but the economy would now avoid recession this year. The BoE hiked the rate by a quarter-point to 4.5 per cent — its 12th increase in a row with UK annual inflation stuck above 10 per cent, fuelling a cost-of-living crisis across Britain. 

The issue of the cost of living crisis in the UK has been highlighted by a survey which shows that 10 per cent of young adults admit to shoplifting. According to Office for National Statistics (ONS), the prices for basic necessities started rising more quickly than household earnings, which is encouraging young individuals to shoplift. 

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