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The wealth of the richest in Britain has gone into reverse for the first time in 11 years. But, as Robert Watts, compiler of the Rich List, reports, this could be just the beginning of an enduring and devastating decline with profound impacts on all of us.

Philip Meeson was flying high. In February the former RAF pilot and five-time British aerobatics champion had joined the ranks of the UK’s billionaires. By his own admission a “cocky” young man, Meeson had quit military life when his superiors pushed him into flying bombers. He swiftly buckled up for a life in business and was soon flogging Citroën 2CVs on the King’s Road in London.