Glenfiddich whisky dynasty tops Scotland rich list

WHISKY magnates the Grant-Gordon family have topped a list of Scotland’s richest people with a fortune of £1.9 billion.

Grant-Gordons pip Highland Spring owner

According to the annual Sunday Times Rich List, the family, which owns Banffshire-based William Grant & Sons, producers of Glenfiddich, beat Emirati businessman Mahdi al-Tajir into second place.

Owner of the 15,000-acre Blackwood estate in Perthshire, Mr al-Tajir, who also owns mineral water firm Highland Spring, has a total wealth of £1.67bn.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Also on the list was oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood (£1.32bn) and entrepreneur Jim McColl, founder of engineering firm Clyde 
Blowers (£1bn).

The research found Britain’s richest are wealthier than ever before with a combined fortune of £518.975 billion.

Amid talk of the “squeezed middle”, the 1,000 richest Britons now own the equivalent of a third of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Top of the overall list were brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, who have amassed a near £12bn fortune through their interests in property, banking, oil and the media.

Mining and investment tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who has a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal FC, was second (£10.65bn), while Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal was third (£10.25bn).

Other notable Scots on the list include Pete Cashmore, the 28-year-old founder of the Mashable blog who is worth £120 million and Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, whose £40m fortune allowed him to open the luxury Cromlix House Hotel near Dunblane earlier this year.

Superstar DJ Calvin Harris, who stacked shelves in Marks & Spencer before being signed by EMI, has a fortune of £30m.

Philip Beresford, who has compiled the ranking since 1989, said: “I’ve never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain’s 1,000 richest people over the past year. While some may criticise them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy and their success brings more jobs and more wealth for the country.”

Most distinguished among the old money names, the Queen had a sterling year as she added £10m to her personal fortune and is now ranked 285 on the list with £330m.

Well-established Rich List millionaires such as Jamie and wife Jools Oliver saw their worth go up by £90m to £240m.

That ranked them at 396, as the celebrity chef’s restaurant chain, TV appearances, cookbook sales and his wife’s childrenswear range continued to pay dividends.

South African insurance tycoon Douw Steyn, the money behind the wild success of the meerkat TV advertising campaign for, saw his wealth go up by £50m to a total of £600m, ranked 170.

Former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, who stepped down at the supermarket chain in 2011, was among the new entrants with a worth of £100m, ranking at 863.

Last week it was announced that the list’s compilers had found that the number of billionaires living in Britain has risen to more than 100 for the first time.

Some 104 billionaires are now based in the UK – more than triple the number from a decade ago – with a combined wealth of more than £301bn.

It means Britain has more billionaires per head of population than any other country, while London’s total of 72 sterling billionaires is more than any other city in the world.

The list is based on “identifiable wealth” – including land, property, other assets such as artworks and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies.

It excludes bank accounts.