Former cell phone tycoon John Caudwell’s own lavish lifestyle, which incorporates a £300million mansion in London’s Mayfair and his £45million superyacht Titania, has been the main target of various online reports.
But as Britain tackles a financial crisis, he says he has turn into “horrified” by the growing class divide and has pledged to provide no less than 70 per cent of his wealth – estimated at £1.56billion – away.
Mr Caudwell reveals his personal rags-to-riches rise – from a working-class childhood in Stoke to boss of the Phones 4u empire he sold in 2006 – in an autobiography out this week.
In an interview, he said: “Once I was growing up, no person had central heating.
“We had a coal fire and we were only allowed two pieces of coal. People’s living standards have risen through the roof.
“But with social media, persons are more aware there are people like me with yachts, driving around in Rolls-Royces and having fun. It puts pressure on people they usually are more aware.
“I’m horrified by the rich-poor divide. The pandemic cost the country a fortune, with the Ukraine war on top. We now have to take somewhat little bit of pain now.
“The poorest people need more help but the remaining of us must take a drop in our lifestyle. People say it is simple for me but it surely’s the fact.”
Mr Caudwell, who turns 70 this week, lives with Lithuanian cyclist Modesta Vzesniauskaite, 38.
They’d a son together last 12 months and he has five older children. He has helped 65,000 children with disabilities since founding his charity Caudwell Children in 2000.
- John Caudwell: Love, Pain & Money: The Making Of A Billionaire, published by Mirror Books, is on sale from Friday, with proceeds going to Caudwell Children.