Loaded London: why our nation’s capital is home to more billionaires than any other city in the world

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  • Who wants to be a billionaire? Well, Londoners, apparently. According to the latest Sunday Times Rich List, our capital city already has 72 of them - almost twice as many as New York. And the rest of Britain isn't doing too badly either...

    Turns out Dick Whittington was right – London’s streets really are paved with gold. Or at least that’s what you might assume from looking at the latest Sunday Times Rich List.

    Our capital city is currently home to an impressive total of 72 billionaires, wiping the floor with Moscow’s 48 and New York’s 43.

    But the rest of Britain isn’t doing too badly either. In fact, for the first time ever, the UK boasts over 100 resident billionaires – that’s more per head than any other country, with a combined fortune of £301 billion between them.

    At the top of Britain’s billionaire pile are Indian-born brothers Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, with a joint £11.9 billion from their global conglomerate.

    A little further down the list you’ll find a wealth of international oligarchs, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich with £8.52 billion, Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov with £10.65 billion and Queens Park Rangers stakeholder and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal with £10.25 billion.

    The richest woman on the list is Kirsty Bertarelli, a songwriter and former Miss UK who, together with her Swiss businessman husband Ernesto, has £9.75 billion to her name.

    The Duke of Westminster is the only British-born billionaire in the top 10, scraping into 10th place with his meager £8.5 billion fortune.

    So why are so many non-British billionaires choosing to make our humble shores their home?

    The UK’s relatively lenient tax regime may have something to do with it. Unlike America and many other countries, Britain does not tax its ‘non-domicile’ residents on their global wealth, meaning they only pay tax on the money they earn in the UK.

    It’s an attractive prospect for super-rich foreigners and may mean that more of them decide to make Britain their home in future.

    But there are still a few homegrown billionaires flying the flag for Britain (or perhaps just wafting around a handful of £50 notes?).

    They include Newcastle United owner and Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley with £3.75 billion, Foxtons estate agents founder Jon Hunt with £1.07 billion and West End producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh with £1 billion.

    And, of course, the Rich List wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Sir Richard Branson, in at number 24 with a cool £3.6 billion.

    The full Sunday Times Rich List will be published on 18 May 2014. Sadly, we won’t be on it.

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