Recession? What recession? Billionaires getting richer

Philip Green with daughter Chloe

Philip Green with daughter Chloe

Britain’s Jewish billionaires, including Sir Philip Green and Sir Martin Sorrell, have seen their wealth rise this year despite continued economic gloom, according to the findings of the annual Sunday Times Rich List.

The list, now in its 25th year, profiles the 1,000 richest people in the country based on assets including land, property, art and shares. It will be published in full this weekend, with the least wealthy featured worth £75 million.

According to Ian Coxon, editor of the list, it will “reflect a very rosy picture of the wealthiest families and individuals in Britain”.

“The entry point is up £3 million on last year, and there is a record number billionaires in the new list,” he said.

Likely to be positioned high up is Chelsea Football Club owner, Roman Abramovich, whose £9,500 million fortune placed him third on the 2012 list and made him by far Britain’s wealthiest Jew.

Others who usually appear high up on the list include the Reuben brothers, placed eighth in 2012 for their £7,083 million fortune. Property entrepreneurs David and Simon Reuben, who are of Iraqi Jewish descent, have seen their wealth steadily increase since 2010, and have appeared in the top 10 for two consecutive years.

Certainly, purse-tightening has not found its way to those parts of the high street controlled by retailing entrepreneur Sir Philip and his wife, who were ranked 17th on the 2012 Rich List. Their fortune has risen by nearly £600 million in the past 12 months, following the £2 billion sale of a stake in Topshop and Topman.

In advertising, brothers Maurice and Charles Saatchi have enjoyed a £5 million rise in their worth, while WPP chief executive Sir Martin has had a bumper year, with his wealth increasing from £174 million to £210 million.

Bernard Lewis and his family, owners of the River Island fashion chain, saw no change in their fortunes, while sportswear entrepreneur Stephen Rubin is £100 million better off than he was last April.

Last updated: 10:45am, April 19 2013