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Paul McCartney becomes UK’s first billionaire musician

By AFP - May 18,2024 - Last updated at May 18,2024

Paul McCartney performs at Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, on June 25, 2022 (AFP photo)

LONDON — Music icon Paul McCartney has become the UK’s first billionaire musician, according to the Sunday Times Rich List published on Friday, despite the country recording its largest fall in the billionaire count in the guide’s 36-year history.

The 81-year-old’s fortune was boosted by “strong touring, a valuable back catalogue and even a little help from Beyoncé”, who covered the Beatles song “Blackbird”, said the Rich List, considered the definitive guide of the UK’s wealthy.

McCartney, whose net worth was estimated at £1 billion ($1.26 billion), has bucked the trend, with the amount of billionaires in the UK falling from a peak of 177 in 2022 to 165 this year.

This is partly due to plans by the government to scrap the “non-dom tax status” from next year, the system whereby people do not pay UK tax on their overseas earnings.

“Non-dom” has been a political issue for many years, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Indian wife Akshata Murty claiming the status, meaning she was not required to pay tax on her shareholding in Infosys, the Bangalore-based IT company co-founded by her father.

However, she said she would pay UK tax on that income after coming under political pressure.

That move has not hit the family’s fortune, with the couple seeing their shares grow in value by £108.8 million to nearly £590 million over the past year, giving the couple a net worth of £615 million, according to the list of 350 individuals and families.

King Charles III’s personal wealth was also estimated to have risen by £10 million to £610 million, thanks to a boost in the net worth of his properties.

Those faring less well include chemicals tycoon Jim Ratcliffe, who bought a stake in Manchester United earlier this year, inventor James Dyson and Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, who all saw their multi-billion pound fortunes decrease.

The list is topped by Indian-born investor Gopi Hinduja and his family for a third successive year.

The head of the Indian conglomerate Hinduja Group has an estimated fortune of £37 billion.

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