The new Sunday Times Rich List, as ever, shows wealth being sucked from the many to the few. There's now 145 billionaires in the UK, up 11 on the previous record set last year.
While not ripping up any headlines in the List, Salford chancers Fred and Peter Done saw their wealth climb by £20million, to £1.35billion, compared to £1.33billion last year. The BetFred bros are now the 102nd richest people in the country. The Times also discloses that the Dones donated £250,000 to the Tories last year.
As the Dones' wealth rose by £20million, their company FICM Ltd was receiving public subsidies of £22.5million from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority's Housing Investment Loan for its blocks of 380 unaffordable apartments on the site of the Black Friar pub (see here)
This was on top of Salford City Council waiving £1.28million in planning fees for the development, plus the need to provide 76 affordable properties, because the scheme would not be economically 'viable' – ie the profits wouldn't be big enough - if they had to cough up. Subsequently, the 'Blackfriars' flats were marketed to rich Hong Kong investors (see here).
Top of the Sunday Times Rich List is Manc Jim Ratcliffe, chief of fracking firm INEOS, who saw his wealth rise by £15.3billion, to £21.05billion. Meanwhile, Peel Holdings owners, John Whittaker and family saw their wealth rise by a 'mere' £50million, to £2.25billion.
Late last year, Peel Holdings was bickering with Salford Council over the cost of maintenance on the new lifting bridge in Barton. As yet, no-one knows who actually ended up paying for it.
Main photo shows Salford Labour Party and councillors parading past the Blackfriars development as part of the May Day march.