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Credit crunch hits East Anglia's richest

PUBLISHED: 07:41 25 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:12 06 July 2010

East Anglia's richest families and tycoons have seen their combined fortunes drop by a staggering £1.7bn in the last year.

Figures from the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List due to be published tomorrow chart the scale of the wealth drop - enough to run all Norfolk County Council services for 12 months.

East Anglia's richest families and tycoons have seen their combined fortunes drop by a staggering £1.7bn in the last year.

Figures from the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List due to be published tomorrow chart the scale of the wealth drop - enough to run all Norfolk County Council services for 12 months.

The 112-page supplement, which lists the nation's 1,000 wealthiest people, details how the recession is impacting on this region's richest folk showing how the overall wealth of the 10 richest people has dropped by a quarter (26pc) from last year's high of £6,752m to £5,014m.

Among the biggest local losers are Andrew and Sharon Turner, owners of insurance firm Central Trust.

The former Norwich City Football Club directors, saw their wealth fall 63pc from £255m to £95m causing them to tumble down the rankings from 320 to 575 in the overall Rich List.

Turkey tycoon Bernard Matthews saw his fortune drop by nearly a third, falling from £146m to £105m, but ironically rose 37 places up the list from to 510th spot.

Norwich-based property developer Ardeshir Naghshineh saw his wealth drop by a third to £320m after being hit by the demise of Woolworths.

But in cash terms the biggest loser was Kirsten Rausing, a Newmarket stud farm owner, whose late father helped develop the Tetra-Pak group, who was worth £1bn less than last year.

But she still tops the regional wealth list with a £2.5bn fortune and has seen her national ranking rise from 14 to nine.

Ian Coxon editor of the Sunday Times Rich List said the biggest impact had been felt in London because of its role as a global finance centre.

“In the 21 years since we have been publishing the list we haven't seen anything like it,” Mr Coxon said. “British wealth compared to the rest of the world and Europe has been much worse hit.

“The overall trend is down and the wealthiest individuals have gone down by the highest percentage,” he said. “There are very few that have gone up, but quite a few have stayed the same.

“Wherever they have got wealth at the moment, whether it is property of shares, it is going down. The trend is pretty much uniform across the country, though obviously bigger in London.”

And in a further sign of the times, this year the threshold for getting on the list has fallen from £80m to £55m, the first time it has dropped since 2003 - though that is still higher than four years ago.

And the list also shows how music stars such as Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams have lost vast sums because of the plummeting value of property and share portfolios.

This week chancellor Alistair Darling unveiled a raft of tax measures targeting the rich including new 50p tax rate for those earning more than six figures.

Critics claimed the move marked the end of New Labour and the return to 'class war'.

But Mr Coxon doubted whether those would see the wealthy leave these shores, while the overall public reaction has been generally favourable.

“I don't think people will leave the country because of these new tax rates,” he added.

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