Coronavirus windfall tax on super rich urged as wealthiest add 22% to their fortunes
The UK’s billionaires have increased their wealth by more than one fifth during the Covid pandemic, prompting calls for a windfall tax for those who profited from the crisis.
The latest annual Sunday Times Rich List showed the combined wealth of the top 250 people grew by 21.7 per cent to £597.3 billion in the past year.
Scotland’s richest person, Danish retailer Anders Povlsen who owns the Jenners department store building in Edinburgh, increased his wealth by 27 per cent to £6bn.
That placed him 28th equal overall with the Barclay family in the Rich List’s wealthiest people north of the Border, which was announced on Friday.
Dumfries-born DJ and producer Calvin Harris was named today among the UK's ten wealthiest musicians, with his assets increasing by 22 per cent to £220 million, mainly thanks to the sale of his back catalogue publishing rights.
He was placed ninth equal with Ed Sheeran and Sting in a list topped by Sir Paul McCartney.
Harris had the third most streams on Spotify – nearly 14.5 billion – after Sheeran and Coldplay.
Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman, who was born in Kirkcaldy and now lives in the Cotswolds, increased his wealth by 16 per cent to £107m.
Among other people in Scotland on the list, former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, who owns the 65,000-acre Balnagowan Estate near Invergordon, was the oldest billionaire at 92.
He was placed 96th equal, with his fortune increasing slightly to £1.7bn.
Among the biggest philanthropists, Scot Sir Tom Hunter was revealed to be 13th on the Sunday Times Giving List after donating £58m to “community, social, children’s and education” causes.
Over the last 20 years, he has given a total of £138m and is planning a £10m leadership centre for training teachers beside Loch Lomond.
Sir Tom’s £729m wealth from his retail and property empire placed him in 221st place on the Rich List.
The Giving List was topped by footballer and food campaigner Marcus Rashford, who donated £20m to food poverty and community causes.
He was placed at number one because of the size of the gift in relation to his net worth of £16m.
A tax on excess profits made during the Covid crisis was advocated by mobile phones billionaire John Caudwell, 103rd on the list with £1.5bn.
The Phones 4u founder called on the Chancellor to target online retailers.
Mr Caudwell told the paper: “If I were Rishi Sunak, I would say to those who have profited massively: ‘We want a major contribution from you for this year, a tax on the excess profits you made because of lockdowns’.”
He suggested a 90 per cent windfall tax would raise income fast without causing lasting damage to firms.
Mr Caudwell said that would leave them “as well off as they would have been without the lockdowns”.
He said: “They won’t have to worry about tax overall in the UK because the windfall tax would only apply to excess profits for the past year.
“It wouldn’t damage their share price.
"What it would do is raise hundreds of billions of extra tax, to help to fix the short-term crisis from which these companies have hugely benefited.”
The Rich List showed they included the owners of Boohoo, The Hut Group, Asos and Farfetch.