Manchester United bidder Jim Ratcliffe up to second on UK rich list | Rich lists

The Ineos founder, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has moved up to be the second wealthiest person in Britain, with a near-£30bn fortune, as the number of UK billionaires dropped last year for the first time in 14 years.

Ratcliffe, who is battling to take control of Manchester United football club, is the highest climber in the annual Sunday Times rich list, up 27 places as his chemicals fortune climbed by £23.6bn compared with last year, with his net worth estimated at £29.6bn.

The list is topped for a fifth time by Gopi Hinduja and his family, with a fortune estimated at £35bn, up £6.5bn, the largest ever recorded in the 35-year history of the Sunday Times rankings.

Earlier this week, SP Hinduja, the billionaire patriarch and chair of the globe-spanning Hinduja Group conglomerate, died in London at the age of 87.

Despite the soaring worth of some of Britain’s wealthiest people and families, the list also shows that the UK’s billionaires are not immune to the tougher economic conditions.

There are 171 billionaires on the 2023 list, down six from last year, the first fall recorded since the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Overall, the wealth shared by UK billionaires climbed to £684bn – £31bn more than last year’s rich list. However, with inflation running at double digits, the 4.5% increase represents a fall in real terms.

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One of the biggest fallers is Richard Branson, who has dropped 33 places to 77th after his fortune slumped by 42% to £2.4bn, mainly because of the share price collapse at the satellite venture Virgin Orbit, whose first failed launch from Cornwall has left the business facing bankruptcy.

“Two years ago we raised concerns about an unsettling boom in the fortunes of the very wealthy that continued unchecked during the political instability around Brexit and the pandemic,” said Robert Watts, the compiler of the list. “This is not a crash but there are household names who have lost vast sums over the past year. The bursting of the tech bubble, the end of rock-bottom interest rates and the jitters creeping through the banking industry have all taken their toll.”

Among the famous names who have made the cut to appear in the expanded list of the UK’s 350 wealthiest people are the singer Ed Sheeran, David and Victoria Beckham, Sir Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

A fortune of at least £350m was required to make the cut for this year’s rich list.

Top 10 on UK rich list

1) Gopi Hinduja and family – industry and finance – £35bn

2) Sir Jim Ratcliffe – Ineos, chemicals – £29.6bn

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3) Sir Leonard Blavatnik – Warner Music, Dazn streamer – £28.6bn

4) David and Simon Reuben and family – property and internet – £24.3bn

5) Sir James Dyson and family – Dyson Group – £23bn

6) Lakshmi Mittal and family – ArcelorMittal – £16bn

7) Guy, George, Alannah and Galen Weston and family – Primark – £14.5bn

8) Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho – brewing – £13bn

9) Kirsten and Jörn Rausing – inheritance and investment – £12bn

10) Michael Platt – BlueCrest Capital hedge fund – £11.5bn

Source: Sunday Times rich list

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