Sunday Times rich list: Number of billionaires in Britain doubles in five years

The richest 1,000 are worth £547.126bn

Lucy Clarke-Billings
Sunday 26 April 2015 16:50 BST

There are more than twice as many billionaires in Britain as there were than when the Coalition came to power, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

The collective wealth of Britain’s richest 1,000 people now stands at a staggering £547.126 billion.

That figure has more than doubled since a total of just under £250bn was recorded in 2005, despite the world economy being suffering a decade-long recession.

David Cameron surfed into No 10 in 2005 on the back of his favourite election mantra – 'we’re all in this together'. But the PM will now face accusations that that sounds a little hollow.

Because, while the number of billionaires in Britain in the past five years has increased from 53 to 113, the number of children living below the poverty line has also increased.

The figures are in stark contrast to those released by Unicef after its global report in 2014, which found there was an "unprecedented increase" in rates of severe material deprivation.

According to leading UK charity Unicef’s figures on poverty, one in four children now live below the poverty line.

The charity says that the greatest travesty of the past five years has been the widening gap between the poor and affluent in the UK.

Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik topped the Rich List this year with a fortune of £13.17bn

And according to a survey released earlier this month by NASUWT, the UK’s largest teachers’ union, the government has generated ‘poverty and homelessness’.

Of the 2,452 teachers surveyed, 78 per cent had seen pupils lacking energy and concentration as a result of eating poorly, 69 per cent had seen pupils coming to school hungry, and 80 per cent had seen pupils attending school in inappropriate winter clothing.

Housing was also reported as a significant problem, with 22 per cent of teaching staff saying they knew of pupils who had lost their homes due to financial pressures.

The NASUWT general secretary, Chris Keates, said: "These are truly shocking statistics that show the lives of children and young people are being blighted and degraded by poverty and homelessness.

"Poverty and homelessness take a physical and emotional toll on children. They are likely to suffer more ill health and absenteeism. The government has a responsibility to tackle, not generate, poverty and homelessness."

The Department for Work and Pensions previously hit back at Unicef, saying it drew "distorted comparisons" in its study that ranked the UK just 25th out of 41 developed nations for allowing the effects of the international economic crisis to hurt vulnerable families.

And in response to NASUWT's survey, a Conservative spokesman this month said that under the coalition government, "the number of children living in poverty has fallen by 300,000".

The Rich List, published on Sunday 26 April, includes 117 billionaires - up from 104 last year.

London-based Ukrainian businessman Len Blavatnik, whose empire includes the Warner Music Group, came top of the list thanks to his estimated fortune of £13.17bn.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in