While the rest of the British economy struggles, the rich are wealthier than they’ve ever been.
The Sunday Times Rich List has revealed that the fortunes of Britain’s richest 1000 have reached a record-breaking £450bn, showing that while the rest of the British economy struggles, the rich are wealthier than they’ve ever been.
After eight years at the top of the Rich List, Lakshmi Mittal was pushed to second place this year, as Uzbekistan-born Alisher Usmanov became Britain’s richest. The Sunday Times reported that this big change at the top was mirrored by ‘sharp fluctuations in fortunes’ elsewhere in the list.
Alisher Usmanov’s net worth is estimated at £13.30bn, up 8 per cent on last year. Usmanov’s business empire started with the making of plastic bags, but now ranges from iron ore to mobile phones and a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal football club. The latter is described by the Sunday Times as one of his ‘smallest but best known investments’, particularly as it represents the oligarch’s intent on strengthening ties with the UK.
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This year’s rich list also featured a record number of women, with 188 women making the cut. Kirsty Bertarelli tops the list of Britain’s richest woman, thanks largely due to her husband Ernesto Bertarelli’s pharmaceuticals business.
It was also a record-breaking year for philanthropy, with the Sunday Times Giving List, published alongside the Rich List, showing a 20 per cent increase in giving by Britain’s wealthiest.
This year the Sunday Times Rich List celebrates its 25th year. The Queen topped the first ever Rich List in 1989, with her net assets (the including all the Crown Estates) estimated at 5,200 million. The Queen is now valued according to her personal wealth, and is joint 286th on the rich list.