Wealth inequality in the UK has increased since the financial crisis, according to a major new survey from the Office for National Statistics. Tax Justice UK is calling on politicians to increase taxes on wealth to tackle this problem.
The ONS Wealth and Assets Survey provides a rich picture of wealth in the UK since the Brexit referendum. It shows total UK household wealth grew to £14.6 trillion between June 2016 and July 2018, with pensions (£5.36 trillion), property (£4.49 trillion) and financial investments (£1.84 trillion) accounting for the bulk of Brits’ wealth.
Robert Palmer, Executive Director of Tax Justice UK, said: “These figures reveal that wealth inequality has increased over the last decade and remains stubbornly high. This has real world consequences. Access to wealth gives you more life opportunities and better health.”
“Inequality has been a major talking point in this election. Taxing wealth more has to be part of the solution if we are to get the public services voters consistently say they want.”
Increased wealth inequality has been driven by fewer people owning their own homes, while at the same time property prices have risen for those lucky enough to be home owners.
Households with private pensions saw a 42% increase in the value of their pot, property wealth grew by 13%, and those with financial assets saw a 16% increase in value.
There is a widening gap between the haves and the have nots, with wealth inequality increasing over the last decade. Key points include:
Meanwhile, new figures from the OECD released today show that the UK is in the middle of the pack when it comes to how much tax the government raises, with 33.5% of UK GDP raised as tax revenue. The UK ranks 20 out of 36 wealthy countries, behind Spain and Germany.
Robert Palmer said: “As well as being a fundamental building block of a decent society, tax has a crucial role to play in rewiring the economy so it is more equal. The OECD’s league table shows that there is plenty of scope for higher levels of tax as a proportion of GDP if you compare the UK to similar countries.”