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Lord Bamford and family
Construction equipment
Rank 2017
35
Worth
£3,300m
Rise/fall
£200m
Britain is a trading nation that “can stand on its own two feet” and has “little to fear” from life outside the European Union, the JCB tycoon Bamford wrote in a letter to his 6,500 UK employees shortly before last summer’s referendum. The missive by the long-time Tory donor and Conservative peer – who gave £673,000 to Vote Leave, the main group campaigning for Brexit – was one of the most memorable interventions from the business world during the campaign.
   Bamford’s father Joe founded the Staffordshire-based manufacturer of bright yellow diggers 70 years ago. JCB is now the world’s third-largest supplier of earth-moving equipment and its machines can be seen on building sites around the world.
   Bamford, 71, took over in 1975 as chairman of the company where profits in 2015 fell to £102.7m on lower revenues of £2.34bn. Even so, the unique operation is a tremendously strong brand and is easily worth £2.8bn. Last November a large plant hire firm put in an order for 1,200 JCB machines worth about £35m, and a weaker pound in the wake of Brexit could ultimately boost the company's fortunes.
   Other family assets include the 4,000-acre Wootton Lodge estate in Staffordshire, homes in Chelsea, Barbados and France, plus the 2,000-acre Daylesford estate near Stow-on-the Wold where Bamford's wife Carole also runs the award-winning Daylesford Organic. A £140m dividend in 2013 and other interests underpin a £3.3bn valuation for the family.