Norfolk-born inventor is fourth richest person in the UK

Vacuum cleaner king James Dyson with his new invention the Airblade, a high-speed hand dryer for pub

Sir James Dyson and his family have been named as number four on the Sunday Times Rich List. - Credit: PA

Norfolk-born inventor Sir James Dyson and his family have been named as number four on the Sunday Times Rich List.

The list revealed that there are now a record 171 billionaires in the UK, with Ukranian-born Sir Leonard Blavatnik topping the pile as the richest person in the country, and knocking Sir James off the top spot in the process.

The number of billionaires jumped by 24pc, in stark contrast with the wider economic turmoil of the pandemic which saw millions enter furlough and the rate of unemployment lift to its highest in almost five years.

Wealth among billionaires increased by 21.7pc over the year, rising by £106.5 billion to £597.2 billion.

Inventor Sir James Dyson with his knighthood

Sir James Dyson has been named the fourth richest person in the UK, on the latest version of The Sunday Times Rich List. - Credit: PA

The annual index of the country's wealthiest residents showed that oil and media investor Mr Blavatnik saw his fortune surge by £7.2 billion to around £23 billion during the pandemic-hit year.

He took the title of UK's richest man from Sir James, who slipped back to fourth in the table after his wealth only increased by £100 million to £16.3 billion.

The electricals entrepreneur, who was born in Cromer and attended Gresham's School, was also beaten by property investors David and Simon Reuben, who saw their wealth increased by £5.46 billion to £21.46 billion.

Robert Watts, compiler of the rich list, said: "The global pandemic created lucrative opportunities for many online retailers, social networking apps and computer games tycoons.

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"The fact many of the super-rich grew so much wealthier at a time when thousands of us have buried loved ones and millions of us worried for our livelihoods makes this a very unsettling boom."

While the last 12-months may have seen a record number of billionaires it was also an unprecedented year for donations.

England football star Marcus Rashford topped the Sunday Times Giving List.

The Manchester United striker, with a personal worth of £16 million, has become the youngest person to top the philanthropy list by raising £20 million in donations from supermarkets for groups tackling child food poverty in the UK.

For the first time, total donations on the list exceeded £4 billion, with a 36pc rise on the previous year's £3.2 billion.

These are the 10 richest people in the country according to the rich list:
Sir Leonard Blavatnik - £23 billion
David and Simon Reuben - £21.46 billion
Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family - £17 billion
Sir James Dyson and family - £16.3 billion
Lakshmi Mittal and family - £14.68 billion
Alisher Usmanov - £13.4 billion
Kirsten and Jorn Rausing - £13 billion
Roman Abramovich - £12.1 billion
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho - £12.01 billion
Guy, George, Alannah and Galen Weston and family - £11 billion

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