The combined fortune of Britain's richest 1,000 people has hit a new high of £519bn – equivalent to a third of the nation's economic output, and double the figure of five years ago.
The worth of Britain's rich elite is up 15.4% from last year's total of £450bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Philip Beresford, who compiled the rankings, said: "I've never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain's 1,000 richest people over the past year. The richest people in Britain have had an astonishing year."
The wealth of the top 1,000 has doubled since the financial crisis, rising from £258bn in 2009. Labour warned that the government was presiding over a widening equality gap.
Chris Leslie, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "No wonder the super-rich have got much richer over the last year when David Cameron has given millionaires a huge tax cut. Yet at the same time working people have continued to face a cost-of-living crisis and are £1,600 a year worse off since 2010. Labour is determined to ensure all working people feel the benefits of economic growth, not just a few at the top."
Real wages – pay adjusted for inflation – have been falling until recently, although they are now starting to recover. Government figures showed last week that Britain's richest 1% had accumulated as much wealth as the poorest 55% put together. The data also revealed the extent of the inequality across the north-south divide, with household wealth in the south-east rising five times as quickly as the country's as a whole.
Rachael Orr, head of Oxfam's UK poverty programme, said: "We need our politicians to grasp the nettle and make narrowing the gap between the richest and poorest a top priority. It cannot be right that in Britain today a small elite are getting richer and richer while hundreds of thousands rely on food banks to feed their families. There is money to help the poorest – we just need to ensure that the richest are not only asked to pay their fair share in tax but also that the loopholes that allow many to dodge their obligations are closed."
The list showed the Queen had a good year, adding £10m to her personal fortune, and is now ranked 285 with £330m. The former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, who stepped down from the supermarket chain in 2011, was among the new entrants with a worth of £100m, which put him in 863th place.
Four Candy Crush millionaires joined the list for the first time. They include Melvyn Morris, the chairman of the company behind the addictive smartphone game, who came in at 238 with a £430m fortune, and Riccardo Zacconi, King Digital Entertainment's chief executive, ranked 271 with £354m.
The masterminds behind the best-selling computer game Grand Theft Auto, brothers Sam and Dan Houser, who founded Rockstar Games in 1998, were also among the newcomers, at 947 with a joint fortune of £90m.
Beresford said: "While some may criticise them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy and their success brings more jobs and more wealth for the country."
To be considered for the list this year, a minimum of £85m was required – compared with £80m in 2008, before the crash, and £75m last year. To get into the top 500, the rich needed £190m, up from £160m last year.
Jamie Oliver and his wife, Jools, saw their worth go up by £90m to £240m, putting them at 396, as the celebrity chef's restaurant chain, TV appearances, cookbook sales and his wife's childrenswear range continued to pay dividends.
The South African insurance tycoon Douw Steyn saw his wealth go up by £50m to £600m, ranking him at 170th, after a hugely popular meerkat TV advertising campaign for his firm comparethemarket.com. His personal fortune has soared from £200m in 2009, when the meerkats first appeared in ads.
Entertainers featured heavily in the 50 Young Rich List for those aged 30 and under. The former Harry Potter star Emma Watson, 24, is now estimated to be worth £30m, up £3m on last year, as she builds a career as a Hollywood leading lady. Husband and wife Marcus Mumford, 27, and Carey Mulligan, 28, joined the young list for the first time with a joint fortune of £13m from their music and films.
The compilers of the rich list also found that the number of billionaires living in Britain had risen to more than 100 for the first time. Britain has 104 billionaires – more than triple the number a decade ago – who share a fortune of more than £301bn. This means Britain has more billionaires per capita than any other country, while London's total of 72 sterling billionaires is more than any other city in the world.
The 26th annual Sunday Times Rich List is based on "identifiable wealth" – including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, which the Sunday Times has no access to.
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