Britain’s 1,000 richest people have enjoyed a “phenomenal” increase of 15% in their wealth in the past year, according to The Sunday Times newspaper’s annual Rich List.
Together they are worth £518.975bn (637.387bn euros, $872.838bn), an increase of 15.4% on last year’s total of £449.654bn.
Even accounting for inflation, this is well above the £412.846bn recorded before the financial crisis began in 2008.
“I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth,” said Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since 1989.
He added: “While some may criticise them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy, and their success brings more jobs and more wealth for the country.”
The richest 1,000 people now own the equivalent of a third of Britain’s gross domestic product. The country now has 104 sterling billionaires.
The Bank of England said this week that the British economy was heading “back towards normal” following the recession, and after six years of falling wages, average pay has finally caught up with inflation.
However, the 1.7% annual growth in average weekly wages recorded by the Office for National Statistics is well below the growth enjoyed by the richest in society.
The list is based on identifiable wealth including land, property and shares, but excludes bank accounts.
Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja, brothers of Indian origin, replaced Uzbek-born Russian business magnate Alisher Usmanov as the richest in Britain.
The London-based Hindujas, entrepreneurs who co-chair the multinational Hinduja Group conglomerate, are worth £11.9bn.
The richest Briton is Gerald Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, who owns much of central London’s prime real estate. He was 10th on the list with £8.5 billion.
Only 11 of the richest 30 are British. Others include Topshop owner Philip Green (£3.9bn), Sports Direct and Newcastle United Football Club tycoon Mike Ashley (£3.8bn), Virgin boss Richard Branson (£3.6bn), engineer James Dyson (£3bn) and motor racing boss Bernie Ecclestone (£3bn).
Queen 285th on list
Queen Elizabeth II came 285th on the list, now with a personal wealth - as apart from that tied to the crown - of £330m.
“The queen’s investment portfolio, consisting largely of blue-chip British companies’ shares, should have grown to £105m,” the Rich List said.
“With rising land and estate prices, we add £10m to last year’s figure for personal property such as Sandringham and Balmoral.
“Her personal art is worth just £2m. Adding the royal stamp collection, jewels, cars, horses and the Queen Mother’s legacy take the queen to £330m.”
She is the 39th richest woman in her kingdom.
There are more women than ever on the list (114). However, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling (£570m) and Jimmy Choo fashion house founder Tamara Mellon (£180m) remain the only women who have made a vast fortune in their own right.
Britain’s wealthiest rock star fortunes are those of Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell (£710m), U2 (£428m), Elton John (£260m) and Mick Jagger (£215m).
Lower on the list were Sting (£180m), Ringo Starr (£170m), Roger Waters (£160m), Eric Clapton (£150m), David Bowie (£135m) and Robbie Williams (£120m).
Adele is the wealthiest young musician, with a £45m fortune.
Football icon David Beckham and his Spice Girls singer wife Victoria are worth a joint £210m, while Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney and his wife Coleen are worth £74m.
In the list of wealthy people aged under 30, Rooney was eighth, directly ahead of Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton (£68m), Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe (£66m), and Hollywood heartthrob Robert Pattinson (£60m).
Others in the young top 40 were Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray (£40m), basketball star Luol Deng (£36m), golfer Rory McIlroy (£28m), and the members of boyband One Direction, with £14m each.