RENT at a luxury flat owned by Jeremy Hunt soared by 18% while he urged people not to ask for pay rises, it has emerged.

A Daily Mirror investigation with campaign group Led By Donkeys has revealed tenants who moved into the Chancellor's plush apartment in Southampton last summer were charged £300 more a month than previous occupants.

High demand for homes due to the Tory housing crisis and soaring ­inflation sparked a bidding war.

Hunt is preparing to deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday and is coming under pressure to offer serious financial help to those struggling with soaring costs.

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Previous tenants at the flat - owned by Hunt and his wife Lucia Guo’s firm Mare Pond Properties Limited - were paying £1700 a month but when they moved out in August last year, letting agents put it on the market for £1850 a month, a 9% hike.

The winner of the subsequent bidding war ended up paying more than £2000 a month - with the 18% rise almost twice the rate of inflation at the time.

TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said: “It is one rule for the rich and powerful, and another rule for everybody else.

“The Chancellor has stayed silent while property ­speculators and ­landlords have imposed ­inflation-busting rents. But he and other ministers has repeatedly told workers not to ask for a ­cost-of-living pay rise, despite many facing soaring housing costs.”

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Darren Jones added: “Jeremy Hunt’s calls for people to make shared ­sacrifices and show restraint in order to tackle inflation were clearly just his words not his actions. It says ­everything you need to know about this Tory Chancellor.”

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In October 2022, weeks after Hunt’s new tenants moved in, he had been made Chancellor and warned “we’re going to have to be asking for ­sacrifices from everyone to get through a very ­difficult period”.

In December, he argued for pay restraint in the public sector saying: “I recognise there are very sincerely held positions by people in the public sector. But the Government too has a sincerely held concern, not to lock in high inflation that is the root cause of their anger.”

In another interview, he added: “We just have to be really careful not to agree to pay demands that have the opposite of the intended effect because they lock in high inflation."

Hunt bought seven flats in ­Southampton for £3.6 million through Mare Pond Properties Limited.

Land Registry documents show the firm spent £3.57m buying flats which cost from £437,000 to £685,000 in 2018. 

The investigation revealed the rents for Hunt’s portfolio range from £1600 to £2000 a month per flat. That means his buy-to-let company collects around £150,000 a year in rent, almost the same as his £159,000 salary.

A spokesperson for the Chancellor said: “All profits from Mare Pond Properties are donated to charity, as previously confirmed.”

However, they would not confirm the amount donated, when the donations were made or which charity or charities had benefitted.