In Brief

Jim Ratcliffe: son of a joiner named Britain’s richest man

Fracking magnate first UK-born person to top Sunday Times Rich List since 2003

The son of a joiner has been named Britain’s richest man by The Sunday Times Rich List, which includes a record number of women this year.

Jim Ratcliffe, who lived in a council house near Manchester before founding chemical and fracking firm Ineos, topped the list with an estimated worth of £21bn.

Ratcliffe, a Brexit supporter whose wealth jumped by £15bn last year because of the revaluation of his assets, is the first UK-born person to top the list since the Duke of Westminster in 2003.

The list, which ranks Britain’s 1,000 wealthiest people or families, also included 141 women. Brewing heiress Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, ranked highest at number six.

Speaking to the BBC, Robert Watts, who compiled the list, said: “Britain is changing. Gone are the days when old money and a small band of industries dominated the Sunday Times Rich List. Aristocrats and inherited wealth has been elbowed out of the list and replaced by an army of self-made entrepreneurs.

“Today’s super-rich include people who have set up businesses selling chocolate, sushi, pet food and eggs,” he said. “We’re seeing more people from humble backgrounds, who struggled at school or who didn’t even start their businesses until well into middle age.”

In fact, 94% of Britain’s most wealthy made their fortunes, rather than inheriting it, compared to just 43% when the Rich List was first published in 1989.

This year’s list also brought bad news for some famous names. Sir Philip Green's fortune dropped to £2bn, while TV chef Jamie Oliver and his wife, Jules, fell out of the rankings altogether after the closure of 12 of the 37 Jamie’s Italian restaurants as part of a rescue deal with creditors to keep the restaurant group trading.

Nevertheless, it attracted the ire of the Labour party, with shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett set to tell the Institute for Public Policy Research today that the annual ranking of Britain’s wealthiest men and women “exposes a warped system in which a super-rich elite runs rings around the rest of us”.

He will say that: “People have had enough of years of the elite pinching wealth from the pockets of ordinary working people. Labour will overturn the rigged economy that the Tories are obsessed with protecting.”

Recommended

How the UK’s cost-of-living crisis compares with the rest of the world
Cost-of-living crisis protester
Business Briefing

How the UK’s cost-of-living crisis compares with the rest of the world

The dangerous dogs banned in the UK
Dogo Argentino
Why we’re talking about . . .

The dangerous dogs banned in the UK

How much has the UK spent on Ukraine?
Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Today’s big question

How much has the UK spent on Ukraine?

The pros and cons of the House of Lords
House of Lords
In Depth

The pros and cons of the House of Lords

Popular articles

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths
Vladimir Putin has previously deployed ‘extreme measures’ to crush opposition
Why we’re talking about . . .

The mysterious Russian oligarch deaths

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?
Nato troops
In Depth

Nato vs. Russia: who would win?

The Week Footer Banner