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Richest Britons' wealth 'rises 15% in a year'

LONDON--The 1,000 richest people in Britain have enjoyed a “phenomenal” increase of 15 percent in their wealth in the past year, according to the annual Rich List compiled by the Sunday Times newspaper.

Together they are worth 518.975 billion pounds (637.387 billion euros, US$872.838 billion), an increase of 15.4 percent on last year's total of 449.654 billion pounds.

Even accounting for inflation, this is well above the 412.846 billion pounds recorded before the 2008 financial crisis.

“I've never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth,” said Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since 1989.

He added: “While some may criticize them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy and their success brings more jobs and more wealth for the country.”

The Bank of England said this week that the British economy was heading “back towards normal” following the recession, and after six years of falling wages, average pay has finally caught up with inflation.

However, the 1.7 percent annual growth in average weekly wages recorded by the Office for National Statistics is well below the growth enjoyed by the richest in society.

The rich list, which is published in full on Sunday, is based on identifiable wealth including land, property and shares, but excludes bank accounts.

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