UK billionaires increase 20% despite deepening cost of living crisis
Despite Britain’s ongoing cost of living crisis, the number of billionaires in the UK has risen by 20 percent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, new research reveals.
The Equality Trust found that the number of billionaires increased from 147 in 2020 to 177 this year, with the average billionaire having around £2 billion in wealth.
The rise of UK billionaires comes as many families are forced to choose between heating and eating because of the soaring cost of gas and electricity.
Jo Wittams, co-executive director of the Equality Trust, said: “The UK’s record on wealth inequality is appalling, grossly unjust, and presents a real threat to our economy and to our society.”
“That we have allowed the very richest few to accrue such a staggering amount of the nation’s wealth since 1990 is a national disgrace,” Wittams said.
The charity said interventions by the government and banks during the pandemic allowed for an explosion of billionaire wealth after interest rates plummeted causing asset prices to rise.
“This sudden explosion in extreme wealth was in large part due to measures aimed at lessening the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, as central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets, leading to a stock market boom which effectively lined the pockets of shareholders,” said Wittams.
“While Covid-19 saw billionaire wealth rise to levels never seen before, the construction of the economic infrastructure that has enabled this mass accumulation stretches back over the last four decades.”
Since 1990, the number of billionaires in the UK had risen by more than ten times from 15 to 177, with their wealth skyrocketing from £53.9bn to more than £653bn.
“This represents an increase in billionaire wealth of over 1,000% over the past 32 years,” the report said.