Over the past 15 years, the total net wealth in real terms of people in the UK has increased from £6 trillion to more than £10 trillion in 2015.
And yet a report from Oxfam, published ahead of Wednesday’s Budget, showed that 26 pence in every pound of this increase in wealth went to the UK’s top 1% – approximately 600,000 people – while just seven pence went to the nation’s poorest 50%, around 30 million people.
The net result is that over the past 15 years, the richest 1% were able to increase their collective wealth by 79% to £2.4 trillion. The average wealth of each of this elite group was £3.7m in 2015, an increase of £1.5m each.
Meanwhile, the average wealth of someone in the bottom 10% was just £1,600 last year, making them only £500 wealthier than 15 years ago.
Oxfam pointed out that with £3.7 million, you could buy outright an eight-bedroom home with swimming pool in Wimbledon, south west London, while £1,600 wouldn’t even cover five days rent of the same property.
Many people expressed their outrage at the findings..
Some were less sympathetic however…
Oxfam is now calling on the government to crack down harder on tax-dodging by the super-rich.
Mark Goldring, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Currently, a privileged minority are able to hide billions offshore away from tax authorities, which unfairly increases the burden on the rest - especially people who are already struggling to get by.
“It’s time the Government ended the secrecy that allows tax dodgers to get away without paying their fair share, robbing the UK – and poor countries – of vital revenue that could help fund public services and provide a strong safety net for most vulnerable.
“It’s simply not right that a tiny group of individuals hoovers up so much of the UK’s growing prosperity while barely any trickles down to those who have least.
“We need action to ensure that a rise in wealth is more evenly shared in order to combat poverty and ensure everyone gets a fair share.”
Author: Sarah Ann Harris