Massive wealth gap is not getting smaller

The Office of National Statistics has released its latest figures from the Wealth and Assets Survey. Among the findings:

  • In July 2014 to June 2016, the wealth held by the top 10 per cent of households in the country was around five times greater than the wealth of the bottom half of all households combined.
  • The wealthiest 10 per cent own 44 per cent of all wealth, those in the ‘middle wealth’ category (51 per cent – 90 per cent) own 47 per cent of all wealth, and the poorest half own just 9 per cent of all wealth.
  • The bottom 10 per cent of households have total wealth of £14,100 or less, the top 10 per cent of households have total wealth of £1,208,300 or more, and the top 1 per cent of households have total wealth of £3,227,500 or more.
  • There was a striking increase in the value of net property wealth for households in London compared with all other regions; median net property wealth in London was £351,000 in July 2014 to June 2016, a 33 per cent increase from £263,000 in July 2012 to June 2014.
  • Total aggregate debt of all households in Great Britain was £1.23 trillion in July 2014 to June 2016 (a 7 per cent increase from July 2012 to June 2014), of which £1.12 trillion was mortgage debt (6 per cent higher) and £117.0 billion was financial debt (15 per cent higher).
  • Young people (16-34) are clustered in the bottom wealth deciles, whereas the opposite is true of older households (65+).

Vince Cable, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said:

“The evidence points to a dramatic wealth gap that is not getting any smaller. It is a major driver of the disadvantages faced by younger people, who are currently struggling to get a foot on the housing ladder.

Conservative policies on inheritance tax and capital gains tax have only widened this inequality of wealth between generations.

Wealth should be a key to unlocking opportunities, not a barrier to them.”

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