Page last updated at 00:17 GMT, Sunday, 27 April 2008 01:17 UK

UK's super-rich 'getting richer'

Lakshmi Mittal
Lakshmi Mittal tops the list for the fourth year in a row

The UK's super-rich have never been richer, according to this year's Sunday Times Rich List.

The top 1,000 richest people in the country now have more than 400bn between them, it estimates - up almost 53bn in the last year.

Forty of the top 75 are foreign. Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is top again with 27.7bn, up 8bn on 2007.

Times are harder for UK figures such as Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson, whose fortune dropped by 400m to 2.7bn.

Sir Richard has dropped nine places in the list, down from 11th in 2007 to 20th.

New entries

It is the fourth year running that Lakshmi Mittal has topped the list.

Second is Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the Russian oil and industry tycoon who saw his fortune increase from 10.8bn to 11.7bn this year.

New entries in the top 10 include steel and mines magnate Alisher Usmanov - the largest shareholder in Arsenal football club - who comes in at five with 5.7bn.

Lakshmi Mittal, steel (27.7bn)
Roman Abramovich, oil and industry (11.7bn)
The Duke of Westminster, property (7bn)
Sri and Gopi Hinduja, Industry and finance (6.2bn)
Alisher Usmanov, Steel and mines (5.7bn)
Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, pharmaceuticals (5.6bn)
Hans Rausing and family, packaging (5.4bn)
John Fredriksen, shipping (4.6bn)
Sir Philip and Lady Green, retailing (4.3bn)
David and Simon Reuben, property (4.3bn)

He is followed by Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli: the former Miss UK winner and her husband have a 5.6bn fortune based on pharmaceuticals.

Sunday Times Rich List editor Ian Coxon said it was the British-born billionaires, like Sir Richard Branson, who were being hardest hit by the credit crunch.

Monaco-based Sir Philip Green, 56, who with his wife Tina, 58, owns Bhs and Topshop, has seen the value of his retail fortune drop by more than 10% in a year to 4.3bn, according to the list.

Ineos chemicals billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, 55, owner of the strike-torn Grangemouth refinery, has seen an ever bigger downturn which is attributed to higher energy costs and more competition from the Middle East.

Ratcliffe, 10th in the list last year with an estimated fortune of 3.3bn, now sits at 25th, worth 2.3bn.

A fortune of 80m is needed to be one of Britain's richest 1,000 people - up from 70m in 2007.

Author of the Rich List Philip Beresford on this year's winners and losers.

The top 1,000 richest included 762 self-made millionaires.

Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since it was first published in 1989, said: "Until now, the 11 years of Labour government have proved a boon for the super-rich, rarely seen before in modern British history.

"However, much of the rise in this year's wealth can be attributed to one factor: the number of foreign rich who have made London or its environs the main home and base of operation."

The Queen's wealth has stayed fairly static at 320m, Mr Coxon said - although she has been sliding slowly down the list in recent years and is this year at 264.

Meanwhile the Independent on Sunday has published its antidote to the rich list, which it calls the Happy List of 100 people who make Britain a better and a happier place to live.

These include Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web, cricketer and fundraiser Ian Botham, and author and philanthropist JK Rowling.

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