Releasing the latest findings from its Wealth and Assets survey the Office of National Statistics reports that despite the recession and financial crash the total stock of wealth held by British households has remained remarkably stable. Wealth largely held up because the value of private pensions rose significantly.
Wealth totals £10.3 trillion, which is enough to pay off the UK National Debt ten times, or five times if you include among the state’s liabilities all the money used to bail out the banks.
The data come from the second wave of the ONS sample, first collected in 2006-2008 and again in 2008-2010. Average (mean) household wealth is now around £418,000 (including the value of private pensions). The median is £235,000. The difference between the two averages stems from the way wealth is distributed. The wealthiest 10 per cent of households were 4.3 times wealthier than the bottom 50 per cent of households combined. Two thirds of all assets are owned by the wealthiest fifth of households.
For many, home is where the wealth is: property accounts for about a third of total wealth, though that’s now dwarfed by the private pension pots (some) people have built up. (The ONS survey excluded the value of public sector pension entitlements.) The least wealthy tenth of households not only lack wealth, in aggregate they are in the red, and owe more than the value of their assets.