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Britain’s richest see wealth rise by one third

24 April 2010 No Comment

The multimillionaires are worth £335.5 billion, up £77.265 billion (29.9 per cent) on last year, according to the latest edition of The Sunday Times’ Rich List 2010.

The rise is easily the largest annual increase in the 22 years that the survey has been carried out.

In 1997, when Labour came to power, the collective wealth of the then richest 1,000, was just £98.99 billion. In total, the number of billionaires in this year’s list has risen from 43 to 53.

The findings are likely to prove controversial, coming just ahead of the general election and with spending cuts and tax rises expected from whichever party wins.

Top of the Sunday Times Rich List 2010 again is Lakshmi Mittal, the steel tycoon, whose fortune has more than doubled from £10.8 billion last year to £22.45 billion.

He is followed by: Roman Abramovich, the oil and industry magnate and owner of Chelsea FC, worth £7.4bn – up six per cent on last year; the Duke of Westminster, the property owner, now worth £6.75bn, an increase of four per cent; and Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, whose £5,950 million wealth, based on pharmaceuticals, has increased by 20 per cent. Kirsty Bertarelli is also considered the richest woman in the list.

The only new entries to the top five are brothers David and Simon Reuben, whose fortune is based on their property and internet empire. The sons of an Iraqi Jewish textile merchant, their £5.53bn wealth has risen by £3 billion, moving them up from ninth place in last year’s list.

Their holdings include Millbank Tower, in London, and more than a third of the country’s racecourses, including Uttoxeter, Bath and Chepstow.

The highest new entry, at number 12, is Joseph Lau, the Chinese property tycoon who made his money as one of Hong Kong’s corporate raiders and who recently bought a £33 million house in Eaton Square, London. His collection of fine wines contains at least 10,000 bottles.

Of the top 1,000 entries, 513 are based in London or the south east. There are 67 Scots in the Sunday Times Rich List 2010 – compared with 64 last year – with Mahdi al-Tajir at the top, with a £1,500 million fortune. A former United Arab Emirates ambassador to the UK, who now spends much of his time on his 18,000-acre Perthshire estate, his wealth is derived from his metal trading, property, oil and bottled water businesses. There are also 24 entries from Wales in the list, led by Michael Moritz, the Cardiff-born, California-based private equity tycoon.

The number of women in the top 1,000 has fallen by one to 99. These include Dame Mary Perkins, whose wealth, from Specsavers opticians, has risen from £500 million to £810 million, leaving her set to become Britain’s first self-made female family billionaire.

The top 20:

1 (1) Lakshmi Mittal and family, steel, £22,450 million, up 108 per cent

2 (2) Roman Abramovich, oil and industry, £7,400 million, up six per cent

3 (3) Duke of Westminster, property, £6,750 million, up four per cent

4 (4) Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, pharmaceuticals, £5,950 million, up 19 per cent

5 (9=) David and Simon Reuben, property and internet, £5,532 million, up 121 per cent

6 (18=) Alisher Usmanov, steel and mines, £4,700 million up 213 per cent

7 (47) Galen and George Weston and family, retailing, £4,500 million, up 400 per cent

8 (7) Charlene and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing, banking, £4,400 million, up 49 per cent

9 (6) Sir Philip and Lady Green, retailing, £4,105 million, up seven per cent

10 (70=) Anil Agarwal, mining, £4,100 million, up 583 per cent

11 (5) Hans Rausing and family, packaging, £4,000 million, unchanged

12 (new entry) Joseph Lau, property, £3,825 million

13 (9=) Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, inheritance and investment, £3,500 million, up 40 per cent

14 (81=) Vladimir Kim, mining, £3,160 million, up 480 per cent

15 (new entry) Leonard Blavatnik, industry, £3,000 million

16 (9=) John Fredriksen, shipping, £2,750 million, up 10 per cent

17 (9=) Joe Lewis, foreign exchange and investment, £2,700 million, up eight per cent

18 (32=) Sir Richard Branson, transport, internet and mobile telephones, £2,600 million, up 117 per cent

19 (14) Earl Cadogan and family, property, £2,300 million, up 15 per cent

20 (15) Alan Parker, duty-free shopping, £2,074 million, up 15 per cent

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