Socialist Worker

£60 billion rise for richest bosses

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2251

Britain’s 1,000 richest people saw their wealth soar by an incredible £60 billion last year.

At a time when we’re being told to accept cuts, this year’s Sunday Times Rich List shows this elite is now worth a staggering total of £396 billion.

Even a fraction of that cash would be enough to reverse every government cut.

A glance at the “biggest risers” shows there are no hard times for the super-rich.

Steel magnate Alisher Usmanov has shot up to number two in the rich list. He has done best out of the 1,000—almost tripling his wealth in just a year to a total of £12 billion.

Usmanov even managed to knock the Duke of Westminster, long-standing stalwart of the list, down a place.

Thankfully the duke can comfort himself with his £7 billion fortune—and the huge swathes of London’s Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge he owns.

Comfort

Meanwhile the Westons are one family who haven’t done too badly in the recession,

pocketing £1.5 billion.

George Weston now has a £6 billion pile of wealth in Associated British Foods—owners of Primark, Selfridges and tax-dodging Fortnum & Mason.

Talking of tax-dodgers, the likes of Topshop owner and government “austerity adviser” Sir Philip Green (pictured) are doing well too. He makes number 13 on the list with

£4.2 billion.

Almost a quarter of the

super-rich are aristocrats who inherited their wealth.

But only slightly below them in the league table come the 180 bankers and hedge fund traders.

Nat Rothschild heads up the list of bankers who’ve coined it in this year. His wealth has more than doubled to £1 billion.

Educated at Eton and Oxford, the banking dynasty heir was a member of the Bullingdon Club at the same time as George Osborne.

He lives in Swiss ski resort Klosters and spends 750 hours a year on his private jet.

Fellow hedge fund boss Alan Howard runs him close though, with just under £1 billion.

His firm, Brevan Howard, dominates the London hedge fund market—but, like Nat, he has moved to Switzerland to escape tax.

The question for all these super-rich parasites is what to spend it all on.

Luckily, many of the richest have found a hobby—handing huge wads of cash to the Tory party.

JCB owner Sir Anthony Bamford, with a fortune of £1.7 billion, has dug the deepest, giving the Tories £1.4 million this year.

But top City financier Michael Farmer gets the award for long service, donating

£3 million over the past five years. This born-again Christian built a copper empire before selling it to Enron for £300 million.

There are dozens of Tory peers in the list too.

One new billionaire is Lord Kirkham, whose wealth more than doubled this year as he sold his sofa firm DFS to private equity vultures for £500 million.

He admitted, “I don’t need the money. I’m loaded.” The Tories will be happy to take it, though.

Coincidentally, Kirkham was made a lord the same year he lent £4 million to the Tory party.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Article information

News
Tue 10 May 2011, 18:13 BST
Issue No. 2251
Share this article


Tags



Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.