THE 20 richest people in the North West have been revealed – and East Lancashire billionaires rank high on the list.

Property billionaire John Whittaker, who was born in Edenfield, and his family, are the fourth richest in the North West, according to the 2018 The Sunday Times Rich List.

Mr Whittaker, 76, owns nearly 27 per cent of property group Intu, which has 20 shopping centres in the UK and Spain - including Manchester’s Trafford Centre, and is worth £2.25bn, up £50m on the last year.

Brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who founded Blackburn-based Euro Garages, come eighth in the list, with a £1.1bn fortune grown from garage forecourts, up £100m from last year.

Also included in 17th in the list is Matt Moulding, who was born in Colne, and is the founder and CEO of e-commerce company The Hut Group.

He is worth £550m, up £205m from 2017.

The Blackburn-based Walker family were ranked at 19th on the list with a total wealth of £530m, which is no change from last year.

The late Jack Walker, along with his sibling Fred, built up their father’s metal business before selling it for £330m. Mr Walker spent £97m on Blackburn Rovers before it was sold.

Robert Watts, the compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “Our North-West Rich List is again led by the Duke of Westminster, but wealth creation in the UK is increasingly a story of self-made - rather than inherited - wealth.

“Fred and Peter Done, the Issa Brothers and Henry Moser all started out with little, worked ferociously hard and now sit on ten-figure fortunes.

“That’s the big difference we’ve seen over the 30 editions of The Sunday Times Rich List - wealth creation is now a story of self-made men and women.

“Technology is also playing a bigger and bigger part in making fortunes.

“In Mahmud Kamani and Matt Moulding the North-West has produced two of the country’s most digital-savvy retailers.

Mr Watts added: “We expect their wealth to climb in the years ahead - although the 27-year-old duke may take some catching.”