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Inventor Sir James Dyson has for the first time topped the Sunday Times Rich List after raising his net worth by £3.6 billion a year.
The Brexit-backing businessman made his fortune with the invention of the 1993 bag-less vacuum cleaner that went on sale.
At the summit, he was replacing Indian-born businessmen Sri and Gopi Hinduja.
The coronavirus pandemic is blamed for a fall in the overall richness of the richest people in the UK.
Sir James, a 72-year-old self-made man, grew up in the 1950s in Norfolk and studied art before his art college principal suggested he would go into design.
After inventing a wheelbarrow in 1974 that used a spherical wheel-designed to be easier to manoeuvre-after seeing an industrial extractor and imagining how it could be downsized for home use, he set out to create the product for which he is best known.
It was more than 10 years before it made it into the market, and Sir James owed his bank almost £1 m at one stage.
But it was a success, and it soon became the best-selling vacuum cleaner for Britain, making her inventor very rich.
More recently, he backed Brexit, arguing that the UK would be better off outside the European Union, and had relocated its headquarters to Singapore, moving production from Wiltshire to Malaysia beforehand.
Most of Dyson’s products are designed in the UK but produced in Asia.
In March, the government ordered 10,000 company ventilators to help with the coronavirus crisis, although later Sir James told employees that these were no longer needed.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Sir James told the paper that despite costing £ 500 m of his own money his recent bid to build an electric car had been scrapped.
“Ours is a lifetime of danger and failure,” he said. “We ‘re trying things out and they are failing. Life isn’t easy.”
The Rich Sunday Times Top 10 List
Home goods and technology, Sir James Dyson and family, £16.2bn.
Sri and Gopi Hinduja and £16bn for family, industry and finance.
David and Simon Reuben, web and property, £16bn.
Investment, music and media Sir Leonard Blavatnik, £15.78bn.
Ineos chemical giant Sir Jim Ratcliffe, £12.15bn.
Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, investment and inheritance, £12.1bn.
Mining and investment Alisher Usmanov, £11.68bn.
Guy, George and Jr Weston Galen and family, retail, £10.53bn.
Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, £10.3bn worth of inheritance, brewing and banking.
Westminster’s Duke and Grosvenor family, real estate, £10.29bn.