Rich list hints at an economic recovery


THIS week saw the publishing of the Sunday Times Rich List. It named Britain’s top 1000 richest men and women, and reached its highest cumulated total yet at over £414billion.

The number one spot belongs this year to the chairman of the world’s largest steel making company, Lakshmi Mittal. His wealth sits at £12,700million.

The 2012 list has broken the previous peak of £412.6billion in 2008, with the fortunes of the richest men and women in Britain reaching record levels, despite the economic slump.

JK Rowling sits at 148 on the list with a fortune of £560million  Picture: Lorenzo Dalberto/Deadline

Amongst the millionaires, there is a growing trend in discount retailers and scrap metal business owners appearing. Robin Sheppard and his family came in at number 60 and are the first scrap-metal billionaires to feature. After starting their small business in Rochdale, they have almost doubled their fortune which now stands at £1.3 billion.

Former Plymouth market trader, Chris Dawson, who is responsible for the Range Discount Stores saw his wealth jump to £380million this year, placing him in 254th place. Whilst the owner of the homeware and soft furnishings discount store Dunelm Mill, Will Adderley, saw his wealth increase from £675m last year to £710m. Similar cases included the Pound Stretcher owners, Rashid and Aziz Tayub, who emerged as new entrants.

The vast majority of this year’s Rich List are entrepreneurs who have made their fortunes over a short amount of time. David Ek, who is the owner of popular music download site Spotify, has sprung his way in at number 395 with £190 million after only launching in 2008.

Journalist Philip Beresford, who is in charge of compiling the Rich List, said that the appearance of these individuals shows evidence of “a revival of British manufacturing shown by the rise of industrialists and high-tech tycoons” and believes this could signal the beginning of an economic recovery for Britain.

In the midst of newcomers and fast risers are the industrialists and celebritites that are no stranger to the listing. Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson appears, as does David and Victoria Beckham.

Women have also had a bigger impact in the 2012 edition than previously, with an extra three females making the list, setting the record at 108. Harry Potter Author J.K.Rowling made it in at the 148th position with £560 million.