Socialist Worker

Super rich double their wealth under the Tories - Make them pay for the crisis

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2403

The number of billionaires living in Britain has risen to more than 100 for the first time.

That’s more than triple the number a decade ago, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

In 2004 there were just 30 billionaires in Britain. They had a combined wealth of £65 billion.

Now there are 104 billionaires with a total wealth of over £301 billion—an average of £3 billion each.The poorest fifth have less than a tenth as much between them—just £28 billion, an average of £2,230 each.

Britain has more billionaires per head of population than any other country. London’s total of 72 billionaires is more than any other city in the world.

The super rich parasites have seen their total wealth rise by £56 billion over the past year alone, partly thanks to the Tories slashing the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p.

Although it is impossible to know how much tax they pay, of course. 

And many billionaires reside in London precisely because the government guarantees they will essentially pay no tax.

It’s great news for those who sell underground cinemas and swimming pools beneath multi-million pound piles in Belgravia and Kensington. 

Parties

As it is for the politicians who like to rub shoulders with the rich at parties. For the rest of us it is a disgrace.

Four in five new jobs in the sluggish economic “recovery” are averaging under £16,640 for a 40-hour week. Working full time on the £6.31 hourly minimum wage earns you just £13,124 a year.

Brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja top the list of Britain’s wealthiest billionaires with a fortune of £11.9 billion. Their wealth rose by £1.3 billion in the last year.

Tax avoiding shop owner Sir Philip Green is also on the list of shame. So is Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley. The zero hours boss “made” an extra £1.45 billion last year.

Anti-union Ineos boss Jim Ratcliffe has £3.2 billion to count on his luxury yacht. Tory donors—such as JCB owner Lord Bamford and Lord Ashcroft—wallow on the list.

Old money is doing OK too. The Duke of Westminster saw his fortune rise by £700 million last year to £8.5 billion.

Ten years ago you needed a personal fortune of £700 million to rank among Britain’s 50 richest people. Now you need a minimum of £1.7 billion.

The combined wealth of Britain’s super rich is far more than before the recession.  In 2008 the total wealth of its 75 billionaires was £201 billion.

The rich have come out of the recession even richer at our expense.

Their mountain of money shows that we don’t need any cuts—we just need to take the money off them.


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Tue 13 May 2014, 17:48 BST
Issue No. 2403
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