The continual hypocrisy amidst the Conservative government show’s itself once again. Despite living in the world’s sixth-biggest economy, people are still living with no place to call their home in the United Kingdom. In spite of that, 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.
As of January 2021, 11,263 people remained in emergency accommodation. Aiding to this figure of homelessness and housing complications is the United Kingdom’s unemployment rate pushing its citizens to the streets. The unemployment rate in the United Kingdom is rising and is predicted to continue that way. It is forecasted that the UK unemployment rate will reach 5.6 percent at the end of 2021, compared with 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 have failed to support their citizens in this crisis, with unemployment expected to peak going in 2022, at 5.9 percent as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the UK economy. However, due to donations to the government from the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, Lubov Chernukin, this duo is somehow able to purchase a house in Mayfair worth 72 million GBP. One of the many reasons of the speculation of how they can afford this property comes from the knowledge of the Chernukhin’s served only as a civil servant back in Russia which at the time (2000-2002) 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 to be answered.
Vladimir Chernukhin, who denies being pro-Russian government is proven not to be genuine by his exploration and association with pro-Russian business interests in the Balkans predominantly in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro as well as Hungry made his 72 million GBP property purchase in 2006. He has been able to tax evade through a number of shell companies and live on the UK soil whilst the 2020 homelessness figure was still 52 per cent higher than the 1,247 people counted as sleeping rough in 2010. Rough sleeping has increased steadily over the last decade.
To stay off the government’s radar Lubov Chernukhin uses her huge donations to nudge Downing Street and the country’s politics in her preferred direction. She is one of the biggest female donors in recent British political history, who has given the Tories £2.1m since 2012. This extraordinary sum has paid for two tennis matches with the prime minister, including in 2014 when Johnson was mayor of London, as well as dinner with his predecessor Theresa May.
The Chernukhins’ lawyers did not respond directly to the suggestion their clients appear to have taken elaborate steps to move their money around various offshore structures, in what may amount to lawful but morally questionable tax avoidance. This accusation may be unfair. But if nothing else, the leak suggests the Chernukhins are likely to be opposed to greater offshore transparency. The government is committed to introducing legislation that would reveal the true owners of offshore companies that buy property in the UK. If it is passed, the Chernukhins will be forced to declare their ownership of multiple homes – worth at least £40m. So far, Johnson has not followed through on a 2018 draft law.