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Who are the super-rich? The wealth and connections of the Sunday Times Rich List

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Who are the super-rich? The wealth and connections of the Sunday Times Rich List

Over the past two years, while most households struggled with the pandemic and rising cost of living, the wealth of the very richest grew substantially. The top 250 individuals or families with strong ties to the UK, as recorded in the Sunday Times Rich List (STRL), saw their wealth rise by 25%. These individuals – who make up just 0.0005% of the adult population – have a combined net worth of £710 billion, roughly 4% of total wealth.

Today, as HMRC publishes the latest official statistics on non-domiciled taxpayers in the UK, CAGE Associates Arun Advani and Andy Summers, and LSE Inequalities Insitute Research Officer Hannah Tarrant, release new analysis on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The report describes the international connections of the super-rich, as well as their ties to UK industry and property. The researchers link information from the Sunday Times Rich List with the Companies House records of companies they own or control, and Land Registry records of UK property owned by these companies.

The research is the first to systematically combine these data to better understand the ties maintained by the super-rich to the UK economy. It looks at where they came from and where they now live, the UK industries in which they operate, and the property portfolios to which the super-rich have corporate ties via UK companies.

Key findings:

  • One in seven of the STRL report that they live abroad, so are unlikely to be resident in the UK for tax purposes.
  • One in seven billionaires is resident in a tax haven.
  • Of those in the STRL who are UK resident, 28% (251 people) are likely to be non-doms, compared with just 0.1% of the overall UK population.

Hannah Tarrant, Research Officer at LSE Inequalities Institute said, "Though many own substantial wealth in the UK, it is striking to see that one in seven of the billionaires lives in a tax haven."

Arun Advani, Associate Professor at University of Warwick said, "This is a reminder that while the non-dom regime is alien to most people, use of this tax break is common among the wealthiest. The latest figures show use of this tax perk has continued to remain high, continuing to cost the Treasury money during a cost of living crisis."

Andy Summers, Associate Professor at LSE Inequalities Institute said, "Around half of billionaires have significant ties abroad. But those lower down the list appear to be more rooted in the UK, with only one in five living or coming from overseas."

Read the research

Advani, A., Summers, A. and Tarrant, H. (2022) Who are the super-rich? The wealth and connections of the Sunday Times Rich List. CAGE Policy Briefing (no. 37)