West Midlands millionaires saw fortunes falter over the last year as the recession wiped huge amounts of money from their bank accounts.
The ten richest people in the West Midlands lost a combined £2.1billion over the past 12 months, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List. This was mirrored by the national picture. In just a year, the number of British billionaires fell from 75 to 43 and more than £150bn was wiped off the fortunes of the country’s richest people.
The biggest loser was London-based steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, who saw his fortune drop by almost £17bn to £10.8bn. In the West Midlands, the biggest hit was taken by JCB boss Sir Anthony Bamford and his family, who saw £1bn wiped off their fortune after the Staffordshire-based manufacturer had an appalling year during which it was forced to cut more than 1,100 jobs.
The loss was more than half of the family’s value, but £950million was still enough to make Sir Anthony the second-richest person in the West Midlands.
Top spot was taken by mobile phone magnate John Caudwell, said to be worth a total of £1.4bn. Even he had lost £200m over the year.
One of the few success stories in the country was Peter and Denise Coates, the Stoke-based owners of the Bet365 website, who added £100m to their finances over the year. Mr Coates, chairman of Stoke City, was also one of the richest football bosses, with his £400m fortune putting him in seventh place in the Premier League rich list, just behind Fulham chief Mohamed al-Fayed.
In the Coca-Cola Championship, Birmingham City’s bosses David Sullivan and David and Ralph Gold were joined by Steve Morgan of Wolverhampton Wanderers at the top end of the list.
Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list for the past 21 years, said he was surprised at the scale of the losses suffered by many of the super-rich , adding: “It is extraordinary how people have seen their fortunes whittled away.”
But he said the Coates family showed there were bright signs, adding: “If you give value, you are quids in and if you are working with the higher end of the market, you are quids in. If you are in the middle, you are being squeezed.”