Jagger and Richards received a portion of the royalties because the string section used a four-second sample of Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra's version of The Rolling Stones' single "The Last Time".

Revealing the news at yesterday's Ivor Novello Awards ceremony, Ashcroft commented, "It gives me great pleasure to announce as of last month Mick Jagger and Keith Richards agreed to give me their share of the song "Bitter Sweet Symphony". This remarkable and life affirming turn of events was made possible by a kind and magnanimous gesture from Mick and Keith, who have also agreed that they are happy for the writing credit to exclude their names and all their royalties derived from the song they will now pass to me."

Ashcroft added, "I would like to thank the main players in this, my management Steve Kutner and John Kennedy, the Stones manager Joyce Smyth and Jody Klein (for actually taking the call) lastly a huge unreserved heartfelt thanks and respect to Mick and Keith. Music is power."

"Bitter Sweet Symphony" was released by The Verve in 1997. Ashcroft had to sign away the rights and royalties of the song in order to keep the album Urban Hymns on sale.

Last year Richard Ashcroft released his Natural Rebel album.