Rich List 2018: Jim Ratcliffe is UK’s richest man
GB news 24 desk//
A businessman who once lived in a council house near Manchester is the richest person in the UK, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Jim Ratcliffe, who founded chemical firm Ineos, topped the list with an estimated worth of £21.05bn – after coming 18th last year.
Two of the company’s directors are also on the list, which ranks Britain’s wealthiest 1,000 people or families.
Jamie Oliver and fashion tycoon Sir Philip Green saw their fortunes drop.
Mr Ratcliffe, 65, moved from the council house in Failsworth to East Yorkshire as a boy.
He went to Beverley Grammar School, studied chemical engineering at Birmingham University, and got an MBA from London Business School, according to a Financial Times profile.
His father, who was a joiner, went on to run a factory that made laboratory furniture, while his mother worked in an accounts office.
Mr Ratcliffe’s firm is currently locked in a legal battle with the Scottish government over its moratorium on fracking.
His wealth leapt by £15bn in the past year – partly because of a revaluation of his assets. He is the first UK-born person to top the rich list since the Duke of Westminster in 2003.
Mr Ratcliffe has been on expeditions to the North and South Poles, has run marathons, and is a Manchester United fan.
In 2015, he said the UK could thrive outside the European Union. “The Brits are perfectly capable of managing the Brits and don’t need Brussels telling them how to manage things,” he said.
“I just don’t believe in the concept of a United States of Europe. It’s not viable.”
In 2016, he told the BBC the government needed “backbone” when negotiating its exit from the EU.
At second place in the list were the Hinduja brothers, Sri and Gopi, worth £20.64bn. Their fortune jumped by £4.44 billion from 2017.
British-American industrialist-turned-media mogul Sir Len Blavatnik came in third place with £15.26bn.
Sir Philip Green’s estimated fortune fell by £787m to £2bn – partly because of his decision to contribute £363m to the BHS pension deficit.
Jamie Oliver fell off the list entirely, after problems at his restaurant group.
In total, 141 women are on the rich list, with Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken, of the brewing dynasty, ranked highest at number six.
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.
“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.”