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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2007, 18:12 GMT 19:12 UK
Wealth of UK richest 'rises 20%'
Sir Tom Hunter
Sir Tom Hunter is Scotland's first billionaire
The fortunes of Britain's wealthiest 1,000 people grew 20% in a year, the Sunday Times Rich List has revealed.

It shows the combined wealth of the top 1,000 now stands at 360bn and there are 68 billionaires in the country - three times as many as in 2003.

Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal is Britain's richest person with 19bn.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was ranked second. The Duke of Westminster, ranked third, was the only one in the list's top five born in the UK.

Mr Mittal's fortune grew more than 4bn from 14.8bn in 2006, while Mr Abramovich's wealth remained at a hefty 10.8bn, the list suggested.

The Sunday Times said Britain's richest had seen their fortunes grow faster than their equivalents in Europe and worldwide.

The list compilers said the 20% rise in the UK's most wealthy compared to a 14.8% rise in wealth of Europe's top 50 and an 8.3% increase in wealth of the world's richest people over the past 12 months.

Property boom

The boom was underpinned by the "continued buoyancy of the property market", with 221 of the richest having made their money from property, the Sunday Times analysts said.

This was up from 211 who made their money from property in 2006, they said.

They are led by the Duke of Westminster whose fortune grew from 6.6bn to 7bn, based on his property in London's Mayfair, Belgravia and estates in Cheshire, Lancashire and Scotland.

Sunday Times Rich List
Lakshmi Mittal
1. Lakshmi Mittal...19.2bn
2. Roman Abramovich..10.8bn
3. Duke of Westminster...7bn
4. Sri & Gopi Hinduja...6.2bn
5. David Khalili...5.8bn
6. Hans Rausing....5.4bn
7. Sir Philip and Lady Green..4.9bn
8. John Fredriksen...3.5bn
9. David and Simon Reuben..3.4bn
10. Jim Ratcliffe...3.3bn

The list suggested there were now 68 billionaires, born, living or making their money in the UK, 14 more than in 2006 and treble the number four years ago.

Scotland also has its first homegrown billionaire in Sir Tom Hunter, whose 1bn fortune has been made from property and sports goods.

Meanwhile, analysts said a growing number of super-rich foreigners were attracted to the UK by a generous tax regime.

As well as Russia and India, the wealthy from Scandinavia and France are also looking to base themselves in the UK.

The Sunday Times said Russian billionaire Mr Abramovich, 40, had endured a tough year that included his divorce from wife Irina.

However, the divorce settlement was "small change" for the Chelsea football club owner, who now spends most of his time in the UK, it said.

Irina joined the 2007 Rich List on her own at 452, with a fortune of 155m.

Model and clothes designer Kate Moss joined the list's 100 richest women in Britain with her fortune of 45m.

Other climbers include Easyjet's Stelios Haji-Ioannu in 49th place with a personal worth of 1.29bn, singer Robbie Williams, ranked 755th with 95m, and David Beckham, placed 619th with 112m.

X Factor and American Idol judge Simon Cowell saw his wealth balloon by 40m to about 100m.

Sir Richard Branson slipped two places to number 11, with his 3.1bn fortune.

Billionaire Hunter tops rich list
28 Apr 07 |  Scotland
Cowell is rich list rising star
18 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Mittal named chief in job U-turn
06 Nov 06 |  Business

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