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Inventor Sir James Dyson still the region's richest

By This is Bath  |  Posted: May 09, 2011

Sir James Dyson

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The West's richest people bucked the economic downturn in some style, according to that annual league table of envy and avarice, the Sunday Times Rich List.

According to the list, inventor and entrepreneur Sir James Dyson remains the richest person in the West, with an identifiable fortune of £1.45 billion.

The vacuum cleaner magnate increased his fortune by the not inconsiderable sum of £530 million in the past 12 months.

The West's only other billionaire, as reported in the Daily Press on Saturday, is Peter Hargreaves, of financial giant Hargreaves Lansdown.

He is worth, according to the list, £1.02 billion, an estimated £270 million more than Stephen Lansdown, who he founded the business with in a Bristol bedroom 30 years ago.

Mr Lansdown, who enjoyed a victory against Hull City in his last home game as Bristol City chairman on Saturday, has to get along with a mere £750 million.

Their combined fortunes though would barely amount to much more than pocket-change of the super-rich at the very top of the list.

Indian-born steel multi-billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, who lives in London, tops the list again with an estimated fortune of £17.5 billion.

It leaves the oligarch pair of Alisher Usmanov and Roman Abramovich trailing with £12.4 and £10.3 billion respectively.

All told the 1,000 richest people in Britain have continued to recover from the economic crisis, which wiped £155 billion from their wealth in 2009, and are now worth £395.8 billion.

The number of billionaires in the UK now stands at 73 – up from 53 last year and almost matching the record of 75 set in the pre-crisis list of 2008, when the collective wealth of the top 1,000 was £413 billion.

There are now 108 women among the 1,000 richest.

The Duke of Westminster has added £250 million to his fortune but falls out of the top three in the Rich List for the first time since 1999.

This year a fortune of at least £70 million is needed to get into the ranks of the richest 1,000, compared with £63 million in 2010 and £55 million in 2008.

Among the other figures in the West's top ten are meat-heir Lord Vestey, who recently retired as chairman of the Cheltenham Festival after 20 years.

Gloucestershire-based engineering firm Renishaw founder Sir David McMurtry is valued at £425 million, fashion bosses Julian Dunkerton (£410 million) and Tom Singh (£400 million) respectively control Super Group and New Look, Dorset landowner Charlotte Townshend is estimated to be worth £342 million, Wiltshire-based property developer Harry Hyams is valued at £320 million and Devon-based retailer Chris Dawson completes the top ten with a valuation of £304 million.

Other figures with links to the West to feature in the list are Forest of Dean-born Harry Potter author JK Rowling (£530 million), Bath rugby chairman Bruce Craig (£300 million) and Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare (£120 million).

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    Rick O'Shay, nr Limerick, Eire.  |  May 09 2011, 4:11PM

    Joe Glastonbury - you got it in one, well said. He should have been made to pay back the 35 million R & D money he got from the UK taxpayers. People like Dyson have no scruples and would burn their grandmothers if they could get sixpence for her ashes.

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    Mabel Thorpe, nr Skegness, Lincs, uk.  |  May 09 2011, 4:08PM

    A thoroughly greedy man, took 35 million pounds from HMG, then made over 300 redundant so he could bog off to Malaysia and get his devices made cheaper, blow the UK who helped him start off up the ladder. He should have been made to pay all those people made redundant, their unemployment benefit until they found jobs. Greed personified, not a nice man.

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    Joe, Glastonbury  |  May 09 2011, 1:23PM

    Wonder what all the West Country factory workers that he laid off in order to manufacture his expensive gadgets abroad (but still sell here at the same inflated prices) think when they see Dyson rolling in even more cash?

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    Vacuum Brain, Sherborne  |  May 09 2011, 12:44PM

    Dyson might be very rich, but his cleaners suck!!!

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