Socialist Worker

While you get poorer, these billionaires get even richer

Issue No. 2301

Millions of us are skimping and scraping just to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. But the very richest aren't suffering—in fact they’ve never been richer.

The annual Sunday Times Rich List released this week showed that despite the economic crisis the affluent have had a record year.

The wealth of the top 1,000 soared to more than £414 billion—that's up 5 percent on last year’s total of £396 billion. It’s even higher than the record of £413 billion set in 2008 before the financial crash.

The biggest cash rise in wealth, £2.6 billion, went to the Hinduja brothers. They live in a palatial residence halfway between Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street.

Then there's Sir Anthony Bamford, boss of digger firm JCB, who has seen his wealth almost double to £3.2 billion this year.

He is the second biggest Tory donor on the list, after Peter Cruddas—who was forced to resign as Tory treasurer just last month over the 'dinners for donors' scandal.

Bamford was one of the first people David Cameron invited round for dinner when he became prime minister.

By far the biggest percentage rise goes to Alex Beard, a man known as 'Mr Oil' at commodities speculator Glencore.

His wealth has rocketed by 1,246 percent to £1.3 billion after the company was floated on the stock market last year.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the Duke of Westminster, who owns huge chunks of central London and used to top the list. He has slipped to seventh place—even though his total wealth went up by £350 million.

So next time that you're told that we’re all in it together,

or that times are hard for everybody, remember—for the super‑rich fat cats, they've never had it so good.

Five fat cat facts: Some things the Rich List tells us...

  1. Some 185 of Britain’s richest 1,000 people made their money in banking and finance
  2. The list includes the queen, 69 knights, 26 lords, 11 dukes, eight earls and four viscounts
  3. The highest rated lottery winners are Colin and Chris Weir with £160 million—but they only make number 462
  4. Out of the 50 people in the list who donated the most to political parties, 45 of them handed cash to the Tories
  5. To get into the top 1,000, all you need is £72 million

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Tue 1 May 2012, 16:40 BST
Issue No. 2301
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