Peer Ashcroft in charity pledge

Lord AshcroftConservative peer Lord Ashcroft has made a commitment to hand over more than half of his fortune to charitable causes, following in the footsteps of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

The businessman announced in The Sunday Telegraph that he has signed up to the Giving Pledge, a promise by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
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With an estimated fortune of £1.1 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, Lord Ashcroft said he will leave at least half of his assets to a charitable foundation in his name.

"When I die, I have decided to leave the majority of my assets to a charitable foundation in my name," he wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.
"I have never been a great believer in inherited wealth. After my death, my family will be trustees of the foundation so that they will be able to enjoy making donations to worthy causes in my name."

The Giving Pledge, which is a moral commitment and not a legal contract, was set up by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, and investor Warren Buffett. Lord Ashcroft will be added to the list of "pledgers" on Tuesday.

"The pledge is made publicly because the founders' goal is to talk about giving in an open way and to create an atmosphere that can draw more people into philanthropy," he said. "I would like to see a situation in which the richest members of our society increasingly believe it to be their obligation to support good causes."

He said that his family "wholeheartedly" support his decision. However, he said he will provide for his family, believing it "a little harsh" to leave them with nothing.

Alongside donating tens of thousands of pounds to charitable causes, Lord Ashcroft set up Crimestoppers 25 years ago and helped to open a gallery of the world's largest collection of Victoria Crosses and George Crosses at the Imperial War Museum to champion bravery.

He said the roots for his philanthropic work grew from a work ethic and social responsibility instilled in him by his parents.

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The Sunday Times rich list 2013
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Peer Ashcroft in charity pledge

The 59-year-old billionaire has an almost 30% stake in Arsenal Football club and tops the list with an estimated worth of £13.3 billion.

Blavatnik's wealth rose from £3.4 billion last year to £11 billion in 2013 making him the biggest climber. He owns Warner Music and received £2 billion in April for his stake in TNK-BP.

Indian tycoons Sri and his brother Gopi Hinduja have a wealth of £10.6 billion from the industry and finance sector. The brothers made their fortune from their family firm Hinduja Group, a textile and trading exporter founded by their father in 1914.

Mittal spent eight years at the top of the rich list but slipped down to fourth place this year when the 40% stake he holds with his wife Usha in steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal plummeted from £28 billion to £5.95 billion.

With wealth totalling £9.3 billion, Roman Abramovich is most famous for buying Chelsea FC. A £200 million drop in his fortune lowers Abramovich from third to fourth spot.

Although largely unknown in Britain, 68-year-old Fredriksen is notorious in his native Norway as owner of the world's largest fleet of oil tankers. Once Norway's richest man and now a Cypriot national, the high-school dropout's companies are major players in shipping, offshore drilling and seafood.

The British-born billionaires, the Reuben brothers, are best-known for their vast UK property empire, which includes the John Lewis Partnership's headquarters in London's Victoria.

The Duke of Westminster is the second-highest ranked British billionaire and is worth an estimated £7.8 billion. He owns property group Grosvenor Estates, and half of London's Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as vast portions of the UK and Scotland.

With no change to their wealth this year, the Bertarellis are worth £7.4 billion. Born Kirsty Roper in 1971 into the Churchill China dynasty, 41-year-old Kirsty was a model and wrote the All Saints worldwide hit 'Black Coffee'.



Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken inherited a huge stake in Heineken, the world's third-largest brewer on the death of her father Freddy Heineken in 2002. Michel is an investment banker, former Olympic skier and toboganner, and and actor who appeared in the desert epic 'Lawrence of Arabia.'

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