Socialist Worker

Billionaires double their wealth - while we face record fall

Issue No. 2451

The country’s wealthiest have more than doubled their money in the last six years. Britain’s super-rich are now more than twice as rich as they were in 2009. 

The wealthiest 1,000 people based in Britain are collectively “worth” £547 billion, up from £258 billion in 2009, an increase of 112 percent.

Those placed lowest on the 1,000 rankings have around £100 million—£45 million more than in 2009 and £15 million more than last year. That’s the biggest annual leap in 18 years.

There are now 117 billionaires based in Britain. Some 80 of them are in London, more than in any other European capital.

The wealthiest of all is Warner Music boss Len Blavatnik, worth £13.17 billion, up £3.17 billion on 2014. The wealth of Britain’s super-rich has ballooned. 

Galen and George Weston and family, who run a retail empire that owns Selfridges and Primark, enjoyed a particularly prosperous year. Their fortune soared by £3.7 billion to £11 billion.

Queen

The rise in wealth among the super-rich is so great that the queen has dropped out of the top 300 for the first time. 

She topped the first list, published in 1989, but this year is placed at 302. 

Her income has actually risen by £10 million. Though the Sunday Times newspaper, in a fit of loyalty, failed to include a large part of the queen’s actual wealth. The royal collection for instance is worth around £10 billion.

Meanwhile one in five people in Britain officially live below the poverty line.

The Equality Trust calculated that the combined wealth of the 1,000 richest is equal to the value of 2,041,515 houses at the average  cost of £268,000. Or some 1,116,584 homes in London.

Just last year’s increase in wealth could pay 1,889,963 living wage jobs for a year, or 1,035,154 average-pay jobs. 

It could pay nine months’ worth of bills for all households in Britain, or buy houses for all the homeless people in London. But there is an alternative. We should make the rich pay—then there would be no need for any cuts. 


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Tue 28 Apr 2015, 15:56 BST
Issue No. 2451
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