Foreign born billionaires dominate the top 10 of the 2008 The Sunday Times Rich List, with Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal heading the list of Britain’s wealthiest residents for the fourth year running with £27.7bn, up £8bn on 2007.
The Sunday Times Rich List proves the case for a sensible immigration policy as 40 of the 75 billionaires in the Rich List come from countries such as Russia, India, Germany and Israel, as well as Scandinavia.
Ten years ago there were only two non-British born people in the top ten, today there are seven.
Dr Philip Beresford, who has compiled The Sunday Times Rich List since it was first published in 1989, said foreign billionaires were the ones rising up the list.
“Until now, the 11 years of Labour government have proved a boon for the super-rich, rarely seen before in modern British history.
“However, much of the rise in this year’s wealth can be attributed to one factor: the number of foreign rich who have made London or its environs the main home and base of operation.”
Meanwhile, there are two new foreign born entrants to the top 10, where you will need over £4 billion to join the ‘premier league’.
Alisher Usmanov the Russian steel magnate who is the largest shareholder in Arsenal football club with a stake of 24.2%, joins the list for the first time in fifth ranking with a fortune of just under £5.73bn.
One place below Usmanov, and equally at number six are Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli who share a fortune of £5.65bn built on pharmaceuticals. Kirsty, from Staffordshire, was Miss UK 20 years ago, before she married Ernesto. The Bertarelli’s yachting team has won the prestigious America’s Cup twice in a row for Switzerland.
According to the Rich List, Britain‘s super-rich have never been wealthier. Collectively the top 1,000 multimillionaires are now worth more than £412.8bn, up nearly £53bn (14.7%) on last year.
London has become the ‘place to live’ for the super rich with more billionaires than any other city apart from New York.
There are many reasons why wealthy people from all over the world choose to make their home in the UK.
Dr Beresford said:
“London is such an attractive place for the very rich, not just tax wise but because they have the city, the culture and the safety and security,”
The Labour government have toyed with the idea of taxing rich foreigners on their worldwide wealth. But many believe such a move would drive them away, taking with them the millions of pounds they spend here, and the benefits to UK PLC of employing thousands of people.
It is not just the wealthy migrants that bring benefits to this country. The United Kingdom has long benefited from an influx of ambitious and energetic migrants who arrive with “nothing to declare but their brains and talents”. (Source How 2 Come to the UK published by Campion Books)
As history has shown, many of today’s migrants will no doubt become leading members of future Rich Lists.