Britain becomes land of self-made millionaires

London: Britain’s self-made billionaires and millionaires make up more than 90 per cent of the country’s 2018 rich list that was published on Sunday, with two Indian-origin brothers ranking second.

The 94 per cent of the 1,000 people on the list is made up of self-made entrepreneurs, the highest level ever. It compares with just 43 per cent of self-made people who were included in the first list in 1989 when inherited wealth dominated the list, Xinhua reported.

Businessman Jim Ratcliffe, brought up in a social housing scheme in Manchester, tops the list published in the Sunday Times, with a personal fortune of $28.5 billion. He has become the first industrialist to head the rich list.

Second on the list are brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, based in London where they head a trading empire started by their father in Mumbai in 1914.

The brothers, aged 82 and 78 respectively, have a wealth of $28 billion, up more than $6 billion over 2017 when they topped the list.

Actor Daniel Craig, famed as the movie character James Bond, Secret Agent 007, makes his debut on the list. He and his wife Rachel Welsz have amassed a fortune of $170 million, becoming the fourth and richest 007 to make the list.

The highest ranked female on the list, Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, who runs the famous Heineken brewery, has seen her wealth rocket by almost $2.5 billion in the last year to more than $15 billion.

Potter magic continues to cast its lucky spell with J.K. Rowling, the writer of the famous Harry Potter series seeing her wealth increase in 2018 by $68 million to $948 million.

Potter’s female sidekick, Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson saw her wealth in the Young Rich list rise by almost $15 million to $68 million.

Philip Beresford, who compiled the first 28 rich lists for the Sunday Times, credited former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as the person responsible for encouraging the era of the self-made man and woman.

“Thatcher’s children, the new generation of entrepreneurs, were getting going in 1989. She poured the concrete for the foundations of entrepreneurial wealth on which the modern Rich List is built,” said Beresford.

Queen Elizabeth II topped the first five Rich Lists, but a decision was taken to exclude the value of the Royal Art Collection. She is now 344th on the list, with a wealth of $501 million.

The new list puts the combined wealth of the richest 1,000 people in Britain at more than $980 billion. The number of billionaires has gone up by 11 in the past year to 145.