Fact Service January 2023

Billionaire wealth has exploded, report reveals

A report from the The Equality Trust shows an explosion in riches among billionaires, whose wealth and numbers have “skyrocketed” in the last four decades.

The charity’s briefing, Billionaire Britain 2022: Inequality from the top down, shows how changes to the economy have consistently funnelled wealth upwards to the very wealthy, to the detriment of the rest of us. It found that:

• the wealth of the UK’s billionaires has skyrocketed by over 1,000% between 1990 and 2022, ballooning by around £600 billion.

• the number of billionaires “exploded” from 15 in 1990 to 177 this year;

• between 2020 and 2022 alone, billionaire wealth increased by almost £150 billion; and

• much of this increase came from central bank and government efforts to soften the impact of the Covid crisis. However, the report states, the infrastructure that allowed billionaires to profit in this way was decades in the making.

“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. The UK’s record on wealth inequality is appalling, grossly unjust, and presents a real threat to our economy and to our society”, Jo Wittams, co-executive director of The Equality Trust, commented.