The continual hypocrisy within the Conservative government has reared its ugly head once more. Questions arose over the large donations the Tories have received from Vladimir Chernukhin’s wife, Lubov Chernukhin, making her one of recent British political history’s biggest female donors.
Lubov Chernukhin uses her massive donations to nudge Downing Street and the country’s politics in her preferred direction, with a total of £2.1m given to Tories since 2012. This extraordinary sum paid for two tennis matches with the prime minister, including in 2014 when Johnson was mayor of London, and a dinner with his predecessor Theresa May.
Due to donations to the Conservative government from Lubov Chernukhin, the Chernukhins have purchased a house in Mayfair worth 72 million GBP. Vladimir Chernukhin, a tax-evading pro-Putin Russian oligarch, has been able to pay off the government to turn a blind eye to his million-dollar house purchase. One of the reasons why many ask how they can afford this property is Chernukhin served only as a civil servant back in Russia, which between 2000 and 2002 saw an average salary of 77USD per month. How someone on a basic income can afford one of London’s most expensive homes and for our government to turn a blind eye raises questions that need answers.
Leaked papers, known as the Pandora Papers, have revealed links between the Chernukhins and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Chernukhin, who denies being pro-Russian government, has proven not to be genuine. He has pro-Russian business interests in the Balkans, predominantly in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Hungary, where he made his 72 million GBP property purchase in 2006. He has been able to evade tax through several shell companies and live on UK soil.
There was no response from Chernukhins’ lawyers to the suggestion that their clients seem to have taken elaborate steps to maneuver their money around to avoid tax. The leak suggests that the Chernukhins are likely to be opposed to greater offshore transparency. The government is committed to introducing legislation that would reveal the real owners of offshore companies that buy property in the UK. If passed, the Chernukhins should declare their ownership of multiple homes – worth at least £40m.
Though the United Kingdom has the world’s sixth-biggest economy, many people still don’t have a place they can call home. As of January 2021, 11 263 people remained in emergency accommodation. The issue of homelessness in the United Kingdom is further affected by the unemployment rate pushing citizens to the streets. The unemployment rate in the UK will continue to rise with a forecast that the UK unemployment rate will reach 5,6 percent at the end of 2021, compared to 4,5 percent in 2020. What’s more, depending on the trading relationship the UK and the European Union agree upon, the result of a possible no-deal Brexit from the Conservative government’s decisions and its potential influence on the unemployment rate could peak at 7,5 percent.
The Conservative government has failed to support its citizens in this crisis, with unemployment expected to peak further into 2022, at 5,9 percent, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the UK economy.