The north is full of talented, hard-working people determined to be successful.
So it’s not surprising to hear that of the 42-UK born entries in the top 100 richest people in Britain, 16 are from the north.
And most of these savvy entrepreneurs have made their own fortunes.
Matthew Moulding, the 48-year-old founder of tech giant The Hut Group, has just scooped an £830 million shares bonanza – one of the biggest ever payouts in UK corporate history.
And two other mega-wealthy brothers, Mohsin and Zuber Issa are banking on buying supermarket giant Asda in a £6.8 billion deal.
They are among nine (the Arora and Issa brothers count as one entry each) of Britain’s super-rich hailing from north-west England, according to an analysis of this year’s Sunday Times Rich List by the Mirror.
Here we look at the lives and lifestyles of some of Britain’s band of northern billionaires.
Simon, 51, and Bobby Arora, 48, took over a loss-making Blackpool-based grocery chain in 2004 and turned B&M into a bargain bazaar worth more than Sainsbury’s and twice that of Marks & Spencer.
Younger brother Robin, 35, joined in 2008.
The trio grew up in Sale, Manchester, and inherited their drive from their father, who came to the UK in the late 1960s from India with £10 in his pocket.
The two elder brothers are especially close, living next door to each other.
Their fortune has allowed them extravagant lifestyles.
When Robin Arora married in 2015, the couple chartered a private plane to fly guests to Ibiza.
But news of the £44 million dividend proved controversial, partly due to the firm saving £38 million from a government tax break designed to help retailers hit by the pandemic.
Simon Arora said the business rates relief had been “almost entirely been offset by delivering social distancing”.
He added that the firm had created 1,800 jobs over the past six months and had repaid £3.7 million in furlough cash claimed at the height of the crisis.
Chief executive Simon, described as softly-spoken and an “incredibly natty dresser”, has a law degree from Cambridge University and worked for a top management consultant.
Tom Morris and family
One of seven children, Tom Morris was the son of a Liverpool shopkeeper.
He opened his own shop in the Old Swan area of the city in 1976, at the age of just 21.
His Home Bargains empire now boasts over 500 stores – with aim of 1,000 – has almost 23,000 staff and is one of Britain’s biggest privately owned firms.
Mr Morris is publicity-shy and has never given any media interview, leaving any public speaking is left to his brother, Joe, who also runs the business.
He received a £9.5 million dividend last year thanks to the cut-price stores’ success.
The family is said to own a private jet and a helicopter, which they use to visit stores.
A business associate was once quoted as saying: “There is a humility to him that is very admirable.
“He is very private and does not flaunt his wealth.”
- Worth – was £906 million (now well into billionaire status)
The 48-year-old grew up in Colne near Burnley in Lancashire, where his dad would buy a lorryload of Tarmac and knock on people’s doors offering to resurface their driveways.
He said: “You soon realise the value of money when your dad’s gone out for a day’s work and made nothing because the weather’s bad.”
His first job was washing dishes, was expelled from college for playing truant, became a factory hand, then started out selling CDs online before running websites for other retailers.
His already colossal wealth rocketed when Manchester-based The Hut Group, which also sells everything from mascara to vegan protein bars, floated on the stock market in September.
The firm’s value has leapt to £6.1 billion, triggering the £830 million windfall, with over 200 staff also sharing £200 million.
Mr Moulding, a father-of-four, drives a £160,000 Lamborghini Urus, works out in his lunchtimes, and holidays in the Maldives.
His Instagram account features pictures of a lavish party in Ibiza.
He has pledged to donate his £750,000 a year salary to charity.
Mohsin and Zuber Issa
The brothers were raised in a terraced house in Blackburn.
Their mum and dad came to Britain from India in the 1960s with little to their name.
The siblings once worked in their parents filling station, manning the pumps and cleaning the toilets, but now head the EG Group empire, with 6,000 sites around the world.
Low-profile Mohsin, 49, and Zuber, 48, have bought a £25 million townhouse in London and are having five giant homes built for their family on the outskirts of Blackburn.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
The chemicals magnate learned to count by adding up chimney pots he could see from the bedroom of his council house in the former mill town of Failsworth, Greater Manchester, in the 1950s.
He said: “I used to think I would rather like to become a millionaire.”
The co-founder of the Ineos empire achieved that and more after amassing a fortune that was ranked him as Britain’s richest man in 2018.
He owns two superyachts, a private jet luxury homes in London and the New Forest, and even a Swiss football club.
Ineos’s other mega-rich co-founders also come from the north – Andy Currie from Doncaster and John Reece from Sunderland – and are worth £4.1 billion each.
But vocal Brexiteer Sir Jim, 67, who once threatened to close Ineos’s Grangemouth plant in Scotland in a row with unions, was slammed for relocating to Monaco earlier this year in a move estimated to save him billions
Denise Coates and family
The founder of online gambling giant Bet365 paid herself £323 million in 2018 – a record at the time for the boss of a UK business.
The 53-year-old comes from a bookmaking background, with her dad running a chain of shops.
She persuaded her family to remortgage them to gamble on internet betting and founded Bet365 in a portable cabin in a car park in Stoke-on-Trent in 2000.
The business almost went bust but has since become an industry giant.
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Reports in 2018 said Ms Coates was building a dream home, a £90 million “modern country estate” in 52 acres in Cheshire.
According to the Sunday Times, she and her family were Britain’s biggest taxpayers last year, contributing an estimated £276 million.
However, firms such as Bet365 have been criticised amid a rise in problem gamblers seeking help.
Denise Coates’s family, unlike some others on the list, were far from hard-up.
In fact her father, Peter, the son of a miner, owned a chain of betting shops and, by 1989, was the majority shareholder of Stoke City, the football club the family still own.
Publicity shy Denise, who treats herself to supercars and drives an Aston Martin, once said in a rare interview: “I am a local person and it is important to me that the area is as successful as it can be.”
The phone magnate grew up in Stoke-on-Trent.
His mum worked in the post room of Royal Doulton and his dad for an engineering company.
The founder of the Phones4u chain made a fortune after selling the business.
One of Britain’s biggest philanthropists, he splits his time between Britain, where he owns 50-room £12 million Jacobean Broughton Hall in Staffordshire and lavish homes in London’s Mayfair and Monaco.
Asked why so many self-made billionaires are from the north, he told the Mirror: “Many of us were brought up in very working class backgrounds where you got no easy life, no luxuries, life was a complete and utter battle.
“It was post-war years, it was very austere, and you had to fight for your survival, in my case in every way because they were the tough streets of Stoke-on-Trent.
“The one thing I can say for sure is if you are brought up in affluence, and you go to Eton, you make phenomenal contacts and you have lived a very privileged life – but that can kill hunger.
“But if you are born with a hunger, with a desire, that feeds in as you grow up.
“It can lead to you feeling very hungry for success.
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Most self-made billionaires from the North have a “nothing to lose” attitude, said Professor Rob Phillips, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at the Alliance Manchester Business School.
He added: “I’m sure all those on the list have had big setbacks at one time or another.
“They have a hard work ethic and they’ll need that.
“It’s also about being risk-takers.”
Prof Phillips also predicted the north-west, in particular, had a bright future as a hotbed of business.
“The infrastructure, on the whole, is pretty good.
“There is a lot of money going into the north west in terms of the northern.”