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Sir Richard Branson’s fortune falls to £2.4 billion, the same level as 2000

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Gopi Hinduja and his family are the richest people in the UK, according to this year’s edition of The Sunday Times Rich List, published today online at https://www.thetimes.co.uk/sunday-times-rich-list and in the print edition of the newspaper on Sunday, May 19.

The Hindujas’ wealth is put at £37.196 billion, up from £35 billion last year and the largest fortune ever recorded in the leading wealth rankings.

The 76-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine reveals the largest fall in the billionaire count in the guide’s 36-year history, from a peak of 177 in 2022 to 165 this year.

This year’s list of 350 individuals and families together hold combined wealth of £795.361 billion — a sum larger than the annual GDP of Poland. Sir Elton John, Lord Lloyd-Webber and David and Victoria Beckham all appear in the annual survey. The minimum entry for the list of 350 this year is £350 million.

Robert Watts, compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, said: “This year’s Sunday Times Rich List suggests Britain’s billionaire boom has come to an end. Many of our home-grown entrepreneurs have seen their fortunes fall and some of the global super rich who came here are moving away.

“Thousands of British livelihoods rely on the super-rich to some extent. We’ll have to wait and see whether we have now reached peak billionaire, and what that means for our economy.”

Maintaining a pattern seen last year, numerous familiar names on the Rich List have faced significant financial setbacks. After a challenging year for Virgin Money and Galantic, Sir Richard Branson’s wealth has decreased to £2.4 billion, reverting to its 2000 level. Additionally, 2023’s top riser, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has suffered considerable losses, dropping two positions on the list with a £6.169 billion decline in wealth. This downturn is largely attributed to a substantial drop in profits at Ineos Group Holdings SA.

The biggest fallers on this year’s list are as follows:

  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder of the petrochemicals giant Ineos that now operates 194 sites in 29 countries. The father of three resides in Monaco and has bought a stake in Manchester United (£6.196 bn)
  • Sir James Dyson and family, Britain’s best-known inventor has established a university and pledged £35 million to his old school (£2.2bn)
  • Andy Currie: £1.919bn; Cambridge-educated Currie has been a director of the chemicals company Ineos since 1999. He owns almost 20 per cent of the £30 billion operation (£1.919bn)

Meanwhile, Sir Paul McCartney has reached a milestone as the first UK musician to achieve billionaire status, boosting his wealth by £50 million. This increase comes after a year of touring and the lucrative value of his back catalogue, along with covers by Beyoncé.

The biggest risers this year are:

  • Barnaby and Merlin Swire and family, the family’s two-century-old business owns a significant stake in Cathay Pacific and has extensive interests in Hong Kong (£8.82bn)
  • Idan Ofer, is the son of Sammy Ofer, who built a shipping empire after serving in the Royal Navy during the Second World War (£6.96bn)
  • John Frederiksen and family, Fredriksen, a Norway-born Cypriot oil and tanker tycoon, has twin daughters who stand to inherit his empire. He owns a Chelsea mansion with a ballroom (£4.556bn)

Robert Watts, compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, said: “These may be harder times to create wealth, but The Sunday Times Rich List continues to unearth entrepreneurs building fortunes in diverse and often surprising ways. This year’s new entries include people who have made money from artificial intelligence and virtual worlds as well as plumbing supplies and teaching aides.

“We know many of our readers find such people — especially those from humbler backgrounds — very inspiring.”

This year’s new entries include:

  • Graham King who has amassed a £750 million fortune from holiday parks, inheritance and housing asylum seekers for the government
  • Jon and Susie Seaton, a couple who founded Twinkl, an education publisher at their Sheffield kitchen table and sold a stake valuing the teaching aide’s business at £500 million
  • Euan Blair,Tony Blair’s eldest son, who set up the £1.4 billion apprenticeship tech firm Multiverse that matches people with apprenticeships at more than 1,500 firms, ranging from Google and Microsoft to Pfizer and Net-a-Porter, where they can earn a salary as they learn
  • Sir Lewis Hamilton, the Formula 1 ace is based in Monaco and leaks suggest his new contract with Ferrari could be worth as much as $446 million.
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