Britain's wealthiest 1,000 now worth £519 billion, says Sunday Times list

Nation's top 1,000 have combined fortune of £519 billion, according to annual Sunday Times list

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 3:27am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 3:27am

Britain's wealthiest people are richer than they have ever been, with a combined fortune of £519 billion (HK$6.8 trillion).

The sum is equivalent to a third of the nation's gross domestic product, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List.

It shows that the combined wealth of the 1,000 richest men and women rose 15.4 per cent on last year's total of £450 billion.

They include television chef Jamie Oliver, former Tesco supermarket boss Terry Leahy and, in the under-30s list, Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.

Philip Beresford, who has compiled the prestigious list since 1989, said: "I have never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain's 1,000 richest people over the past year. The richest people in Britain have never had it so good.

"The challenge now for the government and the rich themselves is to see this wealth percolate downwards and outwards, out of London and towards the north and west of the country."

The enormous wealth of those on the list contrasts sharply with the stretched finances of ordinary Britons, with many struggling to cope with the effects of five years of austerity.

The Bank of England said this week that the British economy was heading "back towards normal" following the recession.

It said that after six years of falling wages, average pay had finally caught up with inflation. However, the 1.7 per cent annual growth in average weekly wages recorded by the Office for National Statistics is well below the growth enjoyed by the richest in society.

Last week, the first part of the Rich List found the number of billionaires living in Britain had risen to more than 100 for the first time, with Indian-born brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja the country's wealthiest people with a combined £11.9 billion.

They replaced Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov at the top. The Arsenal football club shareholder dropped into second place as his fortune fell to £10.6 billion.

Only three of the top 20 are British, with David and Frederick Barclay, the publishers and property developers, as the only self-made billionaires in this group.

The richest Briton, the Duke of Westminster, is ranked 10th with a property-based fortune of £8.5 billion.

The super-rich want to live in Britain because of "the culture, financial services, a nice tax regime, good education for their kids and a nice lifestyle where they meet their friends", Beresford said.

Jamie and Jools Oliver saw their fortune go up by £90 million to £240 million, ranking them equal 396, on the strength of their restaurant chain and related businesses.

Queen Elizabeth added another £10 million to her personal wealth and is now ranked equal 285th with £330 million.

John Roberts, creator of online household appliance retailer makes his first appearance on the list with £410 million. He is one of five investors to benefit from the float in February, with all joining the list.

Four members of the management of King Digital Entertainment, the company behind the addictive Candy Crush Saga computer game, join the list for the first time.

Another new entrant on the list is the former Tesco supermarket boss Leahy, now worth £100 million and ranked 863.

In the list of the 50 Young Rich, aged 30 and under, 24-year-old Harry Potter star Watson is now worth £30 million, up £3 million.

Husband and wife Marcus Mumford 27, and Carey Mulligan, 28, enter the young list with a joint fortune of £13 million from music and films.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse