Wealthiest share £414bn fortune
The rich got richer over the last year, with the wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK now worth a record £414 billion.
Bucking the double-dip recession and record unemployment, the super-rich have so far enjoyed a great 2012, with the combined wealth of the richest 1,000 now standing at £414.26 billion.
The figure represents a 4.7% rise on last year and surpasses the previous high of £412.85 billion in 2008, set months before the financial crash from which the rest of Britain has yet to fully recover. The figures were released in the annual Rich List from The Sunday Times.
There are 77 billionaires in the 2012 rich list this year, two more than the previous record of 75 in 2008 and the threshold to even be among the 1,000 richest people in Britain rose by £2 million on last year - with individuals needing at least £72 million to make the list.
Although still holding on to top spot, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, 61, has seen 27% wiped off the value of his family fortune in the last year as a result of the dramatic drop in the share value of his principal business, the giant steel producer ArcelorMittal.
The Mittals have now been number one in the rich list continuously since 2005. Mr Mittal and his family were worth £4.8 billion less than last year with £12.7 billion, leaving them just ahead of Uzbek metals magnate and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov on £12.3 billion.
British-born billionaires, including diamond retailer Laurence Graff, Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire, and JCB owner Sir Anthony Bamford, have enjoyed sharp rises in their fortunes.
The richest woman is Staffordshire-born former Miss UK Kirsty Bertarelli, who shares a £7.4 billion fortune with her husband Ernesto.
Stakes in social media websites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Badoo have boosted the wealth of a number of millionaires in the latest rich list. Andrey Andreev, 38, the London-based Russian businessman who founded the online dating site Badoo, is a new entrant in the list, worth £500 million. Joanna Shields, the European vice-president of Facebook, is expected to add to her wealth when the business floats.
Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich came in third with £9.5 billion, down £800 million on last year. The wealthiest Briton is the Duke of Westminster, in seventh place with an estimated £7.35 billion thanks to his central London property empire.