The Rich List vs reality

The wealth of Britain's 1,000 richest could buy houses for all the homeless people in London


Yesterday the Sunday Times published its annual Rich List(£), ranking the richest 1,000 individuals and families in the UK.

The list serves as yet another indictment of David Cameron’s claim that we are ‘all in this together’ – the list shows that the richest have got richer since the start of the recession, with the assets of the financial elite increasing by 112 per cent since 2009. The richest 10 people saw their wealth increase by £3.25 billion to a total of £99.87 billion.

Analysis by the Guardian shows that the average family on the list owns £547m – without counting what’s in their bank accounts. To make it into the list this year you needed at least £100m – £15m higher than last year’s minimum. The list includes 117 billionaires, 80 of whom are in London. This means that London now has more billionaires than any other city in the world.

Not everyone is having so much fun, though. Coinciding with the publication of the rich list was analysis from the TUC, which showed that in addition to the 700,000 UK workers who report being on zero-hours contracts, there are 820,000 UK employees who report being underemployed on between zero and 19 hours a week.

Zero-hours contracts have dominated the headlines recently, but the TUC says these are ‘the tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to insecure work. Part-time and short-hour jobs are typically much less well paid than full-time work; the average hourly wage for someone working less than 20 hours a week is £8.40 an hour, compared to £13.20 an hour for all employees.

The TUC says that short-hour contracts, which can guarantee as little as one hour a week, mean that some employers wriggle out of paying national insurance contributions.

Like zero-hours workers, short-hour workers are faced with constant uncertainty and often have to compete with colleagues for more hours. It’s little wonder, then, that food bank use among working people is at a record high.

The Equality Trust compared these two contrasting pictures of life in post-crash Britain.

They calculated that the combined wealth of the 1,000 richest is equal to the value of 2,041,515 houses at the average UK cost of £268,000, or 1,116,584 homes in London.

Last year’s increase in wealth could pay 1,889,963 living wage jobs for a year, or 1,035,154 average-pay jobs. It could pay nine months’ worth of bills for all UK households, or buy houses for all the homeless people in London.

The Conservative-led government has presided over a situation where the wealth of the elite continues to sky-rocket. If current trends continue, even more wealth, income and power are likely to make their way to the very top.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

10 Responses to “The Rich List vs reality”

  1. littleoddsandpieces

    We go on and on about 300,000 of the super rich in the UK.

    Yes the rich have sky-rocketed in their wealth.

    But the real tax avoidance is by firms, quite legally, that means people are out of the welfare state and the state pension for life.

    The Lower Earnings Level means people on such low wages are not getting automatic National Insurance credits.

    The tax avoidance is called the salary sacrifice system
    (the return of the 19th Century Truck System).

    The firms pay part wage and part expenses (admin deductions just like in the Truck System).

    So your wage has fallen below the LEL.

    The firm then pays no PAYE tax nor employer’s National Insurance contributions on your employment.




    The low waged, with no chance of other pension provision,
    thus fall out of the state pension system


    See other ways people will not get much pension or
    ANY state pension for life,
    at end of my petition,
    in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:

  2. James Chilton

    “We’re all in this together” – That’s rich !

  3. Leon Wolfeson

    “We” (the Tory MP’s) were all in it together. Plenty of business funneled to them and their supporters…

    (What, you thought he was talking about the people of Britain?)

  4. Guest

    So what’s the answer of a Hamas-loving site? Bombs as presents?

  5. James Chilton

    Yes, it is credulous to suppose that Cameron meant “We, the people”.

    “We’re all in this together” – if that refers to so-called “austerity”, then it’s a case of all are equally austere but some animals get more austerity than others.

  6. Mark Law

    What a pathetic response.
    This is a serious explanation of why the Poor cannot earn and work themselves out of poverty.
    The Truck Acts were abolished for good reason.
    Do some research.

  7. steroflex

    Come on Ruby – Was it not Mr Mandelson who said he was extremely relaxed about people being rich? And Lord, tennis, Levy? And the enormous growth in inequality under New Labour?
    Do you know what? I don’t mix with rich people, I do not care about rich people, I am not a rich person. Even the bureaucrats who pretend to care and swallow vast amounts of public money may disgust me, but I do not care about them.
    Envy is a hopeless way to run a government: in the end we all pay – except the very rich who have superlatively good accountants.

  8. sarntcrip


  9. Robert

    Not forgetting the richest got richer under labour then they did under Thatcher, and the poorest became a dam sight poorer under labour then they did under Thatcher.

  10. RoughSleeper

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics!

    Yes. Interesting. How come there is no mention of the income of the lowest in society, that was started under Labour, and continued under Tories? Is it taboo to expose this?

    You are all the same!

    The truth = (8.5248 x 10K hours, Boots On the ground, @ 1.5822 pence/day)

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