Inventor Sir James Dyson is the richest person in the UK for the first time, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
The Brexit-backing entrepreneur saw his wealth grow by £3.6 billion over the past year, climbing to £16.2 billion.
In February, it was expected the number of billionaires would rise to nearly 160, but it fell by four to 147 as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the Sunday Times said.
Sir James Dyson
Sir James Dyson
James Dyson,with his revolutionary design of vacuum cleaner, following the news that he is to receive a CBE for services to industrial design, in the New Year's Honours list. * 13/10/00: The High Court in London grants Dyson Appliances an injunction banning further sales of the Hoover Triple Vortex, until his patent runs out in June 2001. Dyson, inventor of the bagless Dual Cyclone machine, won a ruling on October 3 2000 that Hoover's bagless model infringed his copyright. 05/02/02 Electrical goods firm Dyson is to transfer manufacturing of its vacuum cleaners from Malmesbury, Wiltshire, to the Far East with the loss of up to 800 jobs, the company said. 5/10/03: Vacuum cleaners and washing machines are about to undergo another revolution at the hands of the British inventor - by learning to talk. Mr Dyson, who pioneered the cyclonic bagless vacuum cleaner, is working on a system that allows faulty appliances to 'speak' on the phone to help centres. The aim is to take the hassle out of giving information to call centre staff when machines break down.
File photo dated 23/03/15 of billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson. The Government has ordered 10,000 ventilators to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Sir James said teams of engineers had been working solidly on the design since receiving the call from the Prime Minister 10 days ago.
Sir James Dyson (left) and Lord Foster of Thames Bank arriving at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, London, for an Order of Merit service.
Queen Elizabeth II presents Sir James Dyson with the insignia with the insignia of members of the Order of Merit, during a private audience at Buckingham Palace, London.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (left) talks with designer and inventor, James Dyson, during a visit to the Science Museum and Imperial College in London, where they met students and staff before announcing a £12 million donation to the new Dyson School of Design Engineering.
Prime Minister David Cameron (right) at the Dyson Vacuum Factory in Malmesbury with James Dyson.
James Dyson and Ed Vaizey MP, Minister with responsibility for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries, at the top of the Royal College of Arts new building in Battersea for the topping out ceremony.
James Dyson at the top of the Royal College of Arts new building in Battersea for the topping out ceremony.
James Dyson climbs to the top of the Royal College of Arts new building in Battersea for the topping out ceremony.
Leader of the Conservatives David Cameron tests the suction of a Dyson battery powered vacuum in the presence of James Dyson at The Dyson factory in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
Inventor James Dyson today launched a bladeless fan which he hopes will be a healthy and environmentally-friendly alternative to air conditioning.
Vacuum cleaner king James Dyson with his new invention the Airblade, a high-speed hand dryer for public toilets, during an unveiling in London.
Bagless vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson in central London, where he unveiled plans for a new college aimed at encouraging young people to become engineers.
British inventor James Dyson speaks about his new Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner (on screen). The company has invented a machine with a single ball-shaped wheel designed to make it far easier to manoeuvre round furniture and other obstacles.
British inventor James Dyson with his new Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner during the product launch.
Inventor James Dyson arrives at a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham, London, which aims to pay tribute to more than 400 pioneers of British Life.
James Dyson with the new Telescope Dyson Cleaner, during a photocall for the new product inside the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London. *12/11/04: The boss of Dyson and his wife pocketed a 17 million bonus last year after shifting production of the firm's distinctive vacuum cleaners overseas, the company confirmed.
James Dyson crouches besides part of his 'The Wrong Garden' on display at the 2003 Chelsea Flower Show held in central London, that he designed with the help of Jim Honey. The garden's focal point is James's water fountain where water appears to flow upwards. * The Chelsea Flower Show is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, and opens to Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) members on Tuesday and to the general public on Wednesday afternoon.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watch James Dyson demonstrate his washing machine at the domestic appliance maker's Malmesbury factory near Chippenham in Wiltshire. * She travelled by scheduled train with the Duke of Edinburgh for a day of engagements around the area.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watch James Dyson unveil a plaque at the vacuum cleaner maker's Malmesbury factory near Chippenham in Wiltshire, during a visit to the town. She travelled by scheduled train with the Duke of Edinburgh for a day of engagements. * around the area.
Inventor James Dyson with his new Dyson Contrarotator washing machine which he launched at his Wiltshire headquarters.
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A record 25 female billionaires make the list, which also shows the overall wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK is down by £29 billion on last year.
The top 10 for 2020 are:
– Sir James Dyson and family, household goods and technology, £16.2 billion.
– Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family, industry and finance, £16 billion.
– David and Simon Reuben, property and internet, £16 billion.
– Sir Leonard Blavatnik, investment, music and media, £15.78 billion.
– Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chemical giant, £12.15 billion.
– Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, inheritance and investment, £12.1 billion.
– Alisher Usmanov, mining and investment, £11.68 billion.
– Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family, retail, £10.53 billion
– Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing and banking, £10.3 billion.
– The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family, property, £10.29 billion.
Rich List 2020: The coronavirus pandemic has wiped £54bn from the wealth of Britain's super-rich in the past two months, the Sunday Times Rich List reveals today
List compiler Robert Watts said: "Ever since the financial crisis of 2008-9, Britain's wealthiest people have become richer and richer.
"Covid-19 has called time on their golden period. This year's rich list paints a picture of Britain on the brink of calamity – two months after lockdown and already billions of pounds have been wiped out.
"You may not like the super-rich, but it is hard to deny that our economy will need the jobs they create and the taxes they and their companies pay if we are to escape a prolonged recession that causes further misery to millions."
The full list covering the wealthiest 1,000 people in the UK will be published on Sunday in a 136-page edition of The Sunday Times Magazine.