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Reading the Rich List 2024: HPC analysis of the wealthiest households in Britain

More than half of the 20 richest households in the UK inherited their wealth or business

The Sunday Times annual ‘rich list’ of the 350 wealthiest households in Britain shows that the UK is now home to 165 billionaire – a drop from a peak of 177 in 2022.

The richest 350 individuals and families together hold a combined wealth of £795bn – a sum larger than the annual GDP of Poland. Furthermore, the net worth of the twenty richest people in the country has more than doubled in the past decade. If all household wealth had increased at the same rate, it would equate to over an extra £250,000, on average, for every household in Britain.

The rich list always prompts intense interest in billionaire rivalry over who’s up and who’s down, but as a society we should also ask whether this represents a fair, proportionate or efficient allocation of resources.

Twelve of the top 20 rich-list entrants inherited their wealth or business. They all depend on the workers at the companies they own and invest in, or the public services and infrastructure that enable the economy to function.

Allowing such a tiny number of people to capture such a huge share of collectively created wealth is not an inevitability but a policy choice that needs to be properly debated.

High Pay Centre reaction to the Rich List was covered in the Guardian and the Mirror.