The combined wealth of Britain’s richest 1,000 people has doubled since the financial crisis, hitting a new high of £519bn.
This figure is up 15.4% from last year’s total of £450bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which was released on Sunday.
Philip Beresford, who compiled the rankings, said:
“I’ve 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 had an astonishing year.”
The increase in the wealth of Britain’s elite has prompted concern from Labour, who have warned that the government is presiding over a widening equality gap.
Chris Leslie, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said:
“No wonder the super-rich have got much richer over the last year when David Cameron has given millionaires a huge tax cut. Yet at the same time working people have continued to face a cost-of-living crisis and are £1,600 a year worse off since 2010. Labour is determined to ensure all working people feel the benefits of economic growth, not just a few at the top.”
Official government figures showed last week that Britain’s wealthiest 1% had accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% put together. The extent of the inequality across the north-south divide also raises cause for concern, with household wealth in the south-east rising five times as quickly as the country’s as a whole.
The number of billionaires living in Britain was also found to have risen, exceeding the 100 mark for the first time. Britain’s 104 billionaires mean Britain has more billionaires per capita than any other country.
The 26th annual Sunday Times Rich List is based on “identifiable wealth” – including property, land, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, which the Sunday Times cannot access.
Photo by William Warby