UK billionaires list grows amid ‘Brexit boom’
The number of billionaires living in the UK has seen a dramatic rise following last year’s referendum to leave the European Union, a new report shows.
According to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, there are 134 billionaires based in the UK now, 14 more than the previous highest total. There were only 21 people on the list 15 years ago.
Meanwhile, the wealthiest 1,000 individuals and families in the UK had a combined wealth of more than £658 billion. Last year, the number stood at £575 billion.
The £83 billion increase is enough to pay the energy bills of all UK households for two and a half years and would be enough for the grocery bills for all food bank users for 56 years, according to the Equality Trust campaigning organization.
Interestingly, the list named Indian brothers Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja as the UK’s richest.
The Indian business moguls, who rook the second place with £13 billion fortune last year, have raked in £3.2 billion. Sri, 81, and Gopi, 77, live in a £300 mansion in central London.
Their financial firm, the Hinduja Group, has more than 70,000 employees and makes large investments in various sectors including oil and gas, property, media and banking.
The rich list showed that while ordinary people and small businesses were looking into an uncertain future out of the EU, the super rich were taking advantage of a “Brexit boom.”
“While many of us worried about the outcome of the EU referendum, many of Britain’s richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions,” Robert Watts, the compiler of the rich list, said.
Wanda Wyporska, the executive director of the Equality Trust, said as the fifth largest economy in the world, Britain had allowed the elite to “streak away from the rest of us, while the poorest see their wealth shrink.”
“Record numbers of people visited food banks last year, millions are locked out of a decent home and two-thirds of children in poverty are in working households,” she added.
Filings at the UK Electoral Commission show that at least 28 individuals or families in the top 100 billionaires have donated money to Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative Party. The Tory-leaning billionaires own £102 billion collectively.
“The fact that nearly a third of UK’s 100 richest people have given money to the Tories tells you all you need to know about where Theresa May’s priorities lie,” said Tom Watson, Labour Party’s deputy leader.