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I ricchi diventano più ricchi, nonostante la crisi


There may have been a recession, but the combined fortunes of the richest people in Britain still managed to rise by nearly 30% last year, the biggest increase for more than two decades, according to annual ratings published today.

The Sunday Times Rich List suggests that the combined wealth of Britain's 1,000 richest people rose by more than £77bn to £333.5bn, with the number of billionaires up from 43 to 53. That still leaves the list relatively poorer than at its peak in 2008, when the combined total was nearly £413bn and there were said to be 75 billionaires. But it still means that the richest 1,000 people are more than three times richer than when Labour came to power in 1997, when their combined wealth was less than £100bn. As an indication of the Rich List's readership, the magazine's pages include advertisements for executive helicopters and luxury hotels.

Heading the top 10 – as he has for the last six years – is the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal , whose fortune doubled from £10.8bn to £22.4bn last year, following the resurgence in steel prices. Roman Abramovich remained second, seeing his fortune rise by a measly 6%, which in his case meant an extra £400m, to £7.4bn. The highest Briton on the list was once again the Duke of Westminster, whose property empire rose by £250m to £6.75bn.

The Queen these days ranks no higher than 245th, with a fortune the compilers estimate at £290m, just behind Bhikhu and Vijay Patel, who transformed a chain of Essex chemists' shops, and just ahead of Sir Rocco Forte, the hotelier.

The author JK Rowling, whose Harry Potter series rescued her from penury just 13 years ago, is now said to be worth £519m, thanks partly to royalties and the marketing of the franchise, which will culminate in a Wizarding World theme park opening in Florida in June. She has also been the source of wealth for others: Daniel Radcliffe, the 20-year-old actor who plays Harry in the films, is said to be worth £42m, while Emma Watson, Hermione, is calculated to be worth £22m and Rupert Grint, Ron Weasley, £20m. Keira Knightley is estimated to be worth £28m.

The rich list calculates that the richest woman is a former Miss UK, Kirsty Bertarelli, married to Ernesto Bertarelli, whose family owned a Swiss pharmaceuticals company before selling to the German group Merck four years ago. The couple are said to have a combined wealth of £5.95bn, up £950m, some of which they channel into their charitable foundation.

The report's author, Philip Beresford, says that although some tycoons are relocating – one, Guy Hands, now operates from Guernsey rather than Sevenoaks, and another, Jim Ratcliffe, has moved his chemical company to Lausanne in order to save an estimated £100m in annual tax – their departure has been offset by the arrival of foreign tycoons: 24 of the 53 billionaires are foreign-born. Among them is Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, a steel and mining investor, whose wealth placed him in 6th place, up from 18th, with a fortune of £4.7bn, up 213%.

Staggering as some of the wealth is, it pales in comparison with the world's richest list, which brings the Mittals in at only ninth place, some way behind the US Walton family, owners of the Walmart supermarket chain, whose wealth is calculated at the equivalent of £53.3bn. Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecoms magnate, has £34.1bn, and Bill Gates of Microsoft £33.8bn.

Tratto da www.guardian.co.uk