The ballooning wealth of Britain's richest highlights rising economic inequalities in the country.
Britain’s billionaire ranks have swollen to 134, up 14 on last year’s total of 120 billionaires according to the 2017 Rich List published annually by The Sunday Times.
The list—in its 29th edition—also noted that London was home to more billionaires than any other city in the world, with 86 of them, and said that the combined fortune of the 500 richest people in Britain in 2017 exceeded that of the top 1000 in 2016.
“While many of us are worried about the outcome of the E.U. referendum, many of Britain’s richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions,” said the list’s compiler Robert Watts, according to The Guardian.
But to some, the double digit growth in the combined fortunes of Britain’s richest 1000 people—which rose from £575 billion in 2016 to £658 billion (S$1.2 trillion) in 2017—also underscores rising inequalities in the country.
According to the Equality Trust, a London based charity focused on reducing economic inequality, that £83 billion increase could cover energy bills in all U.K. homes for two and a half years.
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“The super-rich continue to streak away from the rest of us, while the poorest see their wealth shrink. This is an economy working for the few, not the many,” Wanda Wyporska, executive director of the Equality Trust, told The Guardian.
“Record numbers of people visited food banks last year, millions are locked out of a decent home and two-thirds of children in poverty are in working households,” she said.
The Office of National Statistics has registered a gradual decline in income inequality over the past decade. Last year, the U.K. government introduced a national “living wage,” which—as of April 2017—requires employers to pay at least £7.50 ($9.8) an hour to anyone over 25. That is expected to rise to at least £9 ($11.6) per hour by 2020.
This story has been updated with additional context.