[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 7 November, 2004, 04:14 GMT
Britain's elite earners

Most peoples' earnings have been rising under Labour, but the top one per cent are doing spectacularly better than everyone else.

But just who are these one per centers who earn massive sums? Panorama spoke to a few of Britain's elite earners to find out more.

Simon Woodroffe
Simon Woodroffe
Founder of Yo! Sushi
Claims to be worth 'millions, not tens of millions'

Simon Woodroffe, the UK's first sushi multi-millionare, thinks something has definitely changed in the way Britain regards its high earners.

"Now it's OK to talk about money," he told Panorama. "It's OK to say I'm a millionare - in fact I do quite often."

Simon founded and sold the Yo! Sushi chain of restaurants. He said he was worth "millions - but not tens of millions."

He is now working on new projects such as "Yotel!" - a Japanese-style capsule hotel chain.

Simon told us that London and the rest of Britain had become two separate worlds.

"London has got so far ahead of the rest of the country," he said. "Here people are so focused on money."

Andreas Panayiotou
Andreas Panayiotou
Says he has made 500m in the last 10 years
Owns company called 'The Ability Group'

Andreas Panayiotou is a fast riser on the Sunday Times rich list.

He's estimated to have made around 500 million over the last ten years.

He agrees the top one percent are changing the face of London but reckons that everyone benefits.

"Greed can be a good thing if it's used in the right way," he said. "My business, The Ability Group, you could say to me 'well that's greed.' But if you ask the 2,000 people that rely on The Ability Group, they'll disagree that it's greed."

Andreas is overseeing the construction of luxury apartments near Canary Wharf on the Thames - 30 per cent of which will be reserved as affordable housing for people from the borough.

"The area has grown so phenomenally," he said. "You wouldn't believe you were in East London, you'd think you were in somewhere like Manhattan."

He doesn't believe rising inequality holds people back: he himself comes from the poor part of London's East End just behind Canary Wharf.

"I was literally brought up in Mile End which is 3 or 4 miles away from here," he said.

He thinks the growth of incomes in the top one per cent is no bad thing and he's hoping to cash in on it. He has bought two private jets to hire to the super rich.

He's also building a boat with seven double bedrooms, three dining rooms, a glass lift, a gymnasium, a sauna, a Jacuzzi, a Steinway piano and a helicopter pad. He plans to hire it out for 200,000 a week.


Tom Maxfield
Tom Maxfield
Co-founder of Sage software
Estimated to be worth 40-50m
Owner of luxury hotel in north-east

Tom Maxfield was a working class kid from Sunderland who helped build software company Sage.

It became a global business, selling software to accountants across the world. Tom's shares became worth a considerable fortune.

Panorama asked him how much he was worth.

"Maybe 40 million, 50 million - something like that," he said. "I don't really count it."

He's using some of this money to help regenerate the region he grew up in - by building a luxury hotel and spa in Seaham on the North East coast. Underground in the old coal town these days, you won't find miners.

Instead Tom's Serenity Spa includes underground "light therapy walls" which change colour to match your mood -as well as an 'ozone-cleansed' swimming pool.

He believes ventures like his will help attract more talented people to the North East. "People who come here don't regard Seaham as a run down coal mining town past its sell by date."

"What we're providing is a catalyst for growth," he said. "There are lots more industries springing up - and I think we lit a spark and it became the case."


Paul Walker
Paul Walker
Boss of Sage software
Annual pay of 700,000

Paul Walker is the boss of Sage, the FTSE 100 software company based in Newcastle. He told Panorama that the one percent elite is turning Tyneside around.

He is one of them. Last year he received 4 million worth of shares in the company, accumulated over several years, plus his annual pay of 700,000.

Panorama asked him if he thought he was worth it.

"We've delivered outstanding growth for 20 odd years," he replied. "We've delivered value to our shareholders and we should participate in that value."

He said Newcastle and Gateshead's newly redeveloped quayside will help bring more 1% high earners to Tyneside - and that's a good way to revitalise the area.

"What the quayside says to me is that it's a very modern, prosperous area," he said. "For winners - for these one percenters - that is very important."

"We do need winners," he said. "We need people who want to strive or be part of these 1% earners, and they're the ones that are going to make a difference to the continued success of the North East."

Panorama: Winner takes all Britain was broadcast on Sunday, November 7, on BBC One at 22:15 GMT.

Winner takes all Britain
02 Nov 04 |  Panorama
Call for tax on the super rich
07 Nov 04 |  Panorama
High earners at a high price?
07 Nov 04 |  Panorama
10 facts: The super rich
07 Nov 04 |  Panorama
The one per cent shopping list
07 Nov 04 |  Panorama
The 'superstar' effect
07 Nov 04 |  Panorama
Your comments
07 Nov 04 |  Panorama


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific