Although wealth inequality has fallen, there is still a long way to go, as figures from the Office of National Statistics show huge disparities between the wealthiest households and the poorest ones.
The report said:
Figure 3 shows aggregate total wealth (including private pension wealth) by deciles and the breakdown of each decile into its components. Deciles divide the data, sorted in ascending order, into ten equal parts so that each part contains 10 per cent (one tenth) of the wealth distribution – from the least wealthy households in the 1st decile to the wealthiest in the 10th decile.
In both 2006/08 and 2008/10 the wealthiest 10 per cent of households were 2.4 times wealthier than the second wealthiest 10 per cent. In 2006/08 those households within the wealthiest decile were 4.7 times wealthier than the bottom 50 per cent of households (the bottom five deciles combined).
In 2008/10, the wealthiest 10 per cent of households were 4.3 times wealthier than the bottom 50 per cent.
By combining the top two deciles, and the bottom two deciles a comparison can be made between the value of aggregate total wealth for the wealthiest 20 per cent of private households within Great Britain and the least wealthy 20 per cent.
In 2006/08 the wealthiest 20 per cent of households had 126 times more aggregate total wealth than the lowest 20 per cent of households. In 2008/10 this difference reduced with the value of aggregate total wealth for the wealthiest 20 per cent of households 91 times greater than the least wealthy 20 per cent.
Regardless of disparity, the average household wealth has risen by 12.9%, an increase that the ONS say is down to increased pension wealth:
The overall increase in wealth was mainly down to an increase in pension wealth. Between 2006/08 and 2008/10, overall pension wealth increased from £3.6 trillion to £4.8 trillion. However, pension wealth was not distributed evenly.
For households with pension wealth, the top 10 per cent had pension wealth totalling £2.4 trillion, with the bottom 10 per cent having only £0.008 trillion (£8bn).
The report also shows that across Great Britain, 64 per cent of people were not paying in to a private pension in 2008/10, with 42 per cent of adults having no private pension savings at all.
Left Foot Forward reported last month:
Inequality in Britain now means the richest one per cent of the population take home 15 per cent of total income – compared to just six per cent in 1979.
Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at Sheffield University,will tell audiences at the Royal Statistical Society’s Beveridge Memorial Lecture tonight:
“The last time the best-off took as big a share of all income as they do today was in 1940, two years before the publication of the Beveridge Report, which became the basis of the UK’s welfare state after the Second World War.
“If we look back about 100 years, we can see that inequality in the UK did drop significantly in the 70 years from 1910-1979.
More than half of that drop in inequality took place prior to 1939. Since 1979 these inequalities have risen dramatically and continue to rise.”
Is the government willing to address this disparity?