The UK’s top ten richest people are wealthier than the group has ever been, according to The Sunday Times, who recently released their annual Rich List. Their data finds that the cumulative wealth of the top ten billionaires in the UK has grown from £47.77 billion in 2009 to £182 billion in 2022 - an increase of 281 percent.
As this chart shows, following the 2008 crash, the UK’s billionaires have seen a steady, and fairly steep, incline in their wealth. The upward trend continued despite the pandemic, which saw the UK’s economy shrink by 20.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, as most industries suffered, and 30.5 million people in Europe were expected to be pushed into poverty. This is a stark contrast to the UK’s 250 ultra wealthy, who saw their collective wealth surge to a record high of £653 billion in 2022.
George Dibbs, the head of the Center for Economic Justice at the Institute for Public Policy Research, explains how we are seeing a widening wealth gap, as the rich are getting richer: “As we enter a once-in-a-generation cost of living crisis, the Sunday Times rich list shows us again that vast wealth often begets more wealth. That has proved particularly true during the pandemic, when the wealthiest accumulated more wealth than poorer people, who saved nothing,” he tells The Guardian. “Now there are more billionaires in the UK than ever before and the collective wealth of the richest has grown again.” According to the article, Dibbs is now calling on Sunak to bring in taxes in order to “redistribute the wealth gains of the richest to pay for higher social security benefits for those who most need them.”