The eurozone is in danger of meltdown, unemployment is going up, growth has stalled and the effects of the recession have stubbornly refused to go away.

But while the middle classes may be feeling squeezed, our super-rich don’t appear to be. They have picked themselves up from the lows of 2008, dusted themselves off and increased their overall wealth by a stonking £3.37 billion compared with last year.

The total wealth of the 50 wealthiest Midlanders has topped a Rich List record-breaking £25.073 billion. All of the millions that were wiped off personal fortunes in the recession have been retrieved, plus a bit more on top.

The price of entry into our Rich List has rocketed by £10 million to £85 million.

This might look like ammunition for the “tax the rich” protesters. But close examination of the list shows it’s not the inheritors of wealth or the money men who have increased their fortunes.

It’s the entrepreneurs. Businessmen and risk-takers who have had a good idea, staked their lives on it, and come good – creating wealth and jobs in the process. 

People like Stoke City owner and founder of Bet365 Peter Coates, the Adderley family whose Dunelm Mill goes from strength to strength, and Jo Bradwell, the Birmingham University professor who founded one the world’s leading medical diagnosis companies and makes our list for the first time.

Other first timers include Studley-born James Holder of the clothing brand Superdry, and Rashid Tayub of food distributors Crown Crest.

Manufacturing gets a boost from the likes of Sir Anthony Bamford, who’s JCB has recovered from the lows of a few years ago, John Bloor whose Triumph motorbikes are going down a storm in America, and Lord Paul whose Caparo Group is recovering well.
Jaguar Land Rover recently announced plans to build an engine plant in Staffordshire.

They’re not daft. Staffordshire is the county where the money is, it would seem. As in previous years our top three slots are all occupied by sons – well, two sons and one daughter – of the Creative County.

Property and construction haven’t quite recovered as well as manufacturing, but the likes of Tony Gallagher, Steve Morgan, Charles Clowes and David Wilson are all holding their own and are back to growth.

If the Government sticks to its promise of accelerating infrastructure projects, they could be doing even better in the not too distant future.

Things have switched around a little at the top of our list but we can still boast four billionaires.

The number one slot is still held by Staffordshire songwriter, jewellery designer and former beauty queen from Stone, Kirsty Bertarelli. Her husband’s pharmaceutical fortune continues to grow.

Sir Anthony Bamford comes in at number two, leap-frogging mobile phones billionaire John Caudwell.

The entertainment sector continues to make a significant contribution to the list, with Birmingham’s favourite rocker Ozzy Osbourne increasing his fortune, with a Black Sabbath reunion to look forward to, and Robbie Williams has a bit more cash in the bank after a successful album and spectacular tour with Take That.

Sporting interests are represented by Randy Lerner, Steve Morgan, Peter Coates and Sir Jack Hayward.

Charitable giving and philanthropy continue to feature prominently in our list. Our richest-of-the-rich still give a hefty lump of their fortunes to charities and good causes, almost without exception. Bob Edmiston – now Lord Edmiston – still tops the philanthropy league.

* A brief word about the rules of engagement for the Birmingham Post Rich List: In assessing who goes into the list and who stays out there is inevitably some subjectivity involved, and we can only work from publicly available information. We looked at the personal wealth, property interests, shareholdings, company valuations, asset valuations, liabilities, and other known wealth of people who either live and/or work in the Midlands, or who have major business interests in the region or have spent most of their lives here. We took longevity and commitment to the Midlands into account.

> MORE : Revitalised and resilient Midlands, by Miles Robinson, of Deutsche Bank

?? Next page: The Birmingham Post Rich List 2012 - The Top 50

Birmingham Post Rich List 2012

1. Kirsty Bertarelli (£6,5bn) - [2011 Position: No.1 - £5.5bn]   
2. Sir Anthony Bamford (£1.85bn) - [2011: No.=3 - £1bn]   
3. John Caudwell (£1.6bn) - [2011: No.2 - £1.5bn]   
4. Viscount Portman (£1.2bn) - [2011: No.=3 - £1bn]   
=5. Randy Lerner (£800m) - [2011: No.5 - £950m]   
=5. Lord Paul of Marylebone (£800m) - [2011: No.7 - £600m]   
7. Peter Coates & family - (£750m) - [2011: No.9 - £500m]   
8. Will Adderley & family (£675m) - [2011: No.6 - £650m]   
9. Jacques Murray (£650m) - [2011: No.=11 - £475m]   
=10. Freddie Linnett & the Murphy family (£500m) - [2011: No.13 - £440m]   
=10. Felix Dennis (£500m) - [2011: No.8 - £550m]   
=12. John Bloor (£480m) - [2011: No.10 - £480m]   
=12. Sir Peter Rigby (£480m) - [2011: No.14 - £400m]   
14. Sir David Samworth (£470m) - [2011: No.19 - £345m]   
15. Tony Wilkinson & family (£460m) - [2011: No.26 - £255m]   
16. The Mackie Family (£455m) - [2011: No.=17 - £350m]   
17. Tony Gallagher (£450m) - [2011: No.=11 - £475m]   
=18. Lord Edmiston (£400m) - [2011: No.=15 - £380m]   
=18. Steve Morgan (£400m) - [2011: No.=17 - £350m]   
20. Roy Richardson & family (£395m) - [2011: No.=15 - £380m]   
21. David Wilson (£350m) - [2011: No.=20 - £340m]   
22. Caspar McDonald-Hall £340m) - [2011: No.=20 - £340m]   
23. Jonathan Kendrick (£330m) - [2011: No.23 - £330m]   
24. Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan (£285m) - [2011: No.=30 - £190m]   
25. Paul Ruddock (£280m) - [2011: No.24 - £280m]   
26. Sir Paul Smith (£260m) - [2011: No.27 - £250m]   
=27. Paul Newey (£230m) - [2011: No.29 - £230m]   
=27. Lord Glendonbrook (£230m) - [2011: No.25 - £265m)]   
29. Richard Harpin £210m) - [2011: No.28 - £235m]   
30. Sir William Parente (£200m) - [2011: No.=30 - £190m]   
31. James Holder (£180m) - [New entry]   
32. Sir Euan Anstruther Gough-Calthorpe (£165m) - [2011: No.33 - £165m]   
33. Rashid & Aziz Tayub (£160m) - [New entry]   
34. Peter Horton (£155m) - [2011: No.32 - £185m]   
=35. Charles Clowes (£150m) - [2011: No.34 - £150m]   
=35. Shiraz Dharamshi Tejani & family (£150m) - [2011: No.37 - £130m]   
37. Keith Bradshaw (£140m) - [2011: No.=38 - £120m]   
38. The Duke of Rutland (£135m) - [2011: No.36 - £135m]   
39. Ron Jelley £130m) - [New entry]  
40. Sir Jack Hayward (£128m) [2011 No: =38 - £120m]   
=41. Jo Bradwell (£125m) - [New entry]   
=41. Simon Clarke (£125m) - [2011 No: 35 - £140m]   
43. Alan Jackson (£120m) - [2011 No: 41 - £105m]   
=44. Constantine Folkes (£105m) - [2011 No: =45 - £85m]   
=44. Eric Grove (£105m) - [2011 No: 40 - £110m]   
=46. Ozzy Osbourne & family (£100m) - [2011 No: =42 - £95m]
=46. Robbie Williams (£100m) - [2011 No: =42 - £95m]
48. Woon Wing Yip (£95m) - [2011 No: =48 - £80m]
49. Richard and Brenda Smith (£90m) - [New entry]
50. Jim Leavesley (£85m) - [2011 No: =45 - £85m]  

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