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Richest 1% in Britain have as much wealth as poorest 55%

According to surprising official analysis that has been released recently by the Office for National Statistics, the richest 1% of Britain’s population own as much of the country’s £9.5tn of wealth as the poorest 55%.

The figures show very clearly the divide between the north and the south of the country in terms of wealth, and this is nowhere else more obvious than house prices which have seen a huge 18% surge in the south-east over the past year.

According to the House Price Index, the average house price in England and Wales is around £169,124, though the gap between the north and the south is apparent in that the average price in the North East is £99,313 and in London £414,490, followed by the South East at £221,189.

Comparing the average wealth of households across the country, the South East had increased dramatically to £309,000 by the end of 2012 as compared to the first wealth report, published by the ONS covering 2006-8, showing the surge of up to 30%, whereas the rest of England only saw a 6% average rise. The average wealth per household in the north-east is just under £143,000 and in Scotland is £165,000.

The wealthiest 1% of Britain have also increased their share in the wealth, rising from having the same share as 54.2% of the population between 2008 and 2010 to 54.9% in 2012.

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A spokesperson for the Treasury commented on this saying: “The effects of the Great Recession are still being felt which is why we have taken continued action to help hardworking people by cutting income tax and freezing fuel duty.

“And we want to help more people to save for their future or own their own home which is why we are giving people more flexibility over their pensions and introducing Help to Buy. At the same time we have introduced new higher rates of stamp duty on the most expensive homes and done more than any previous government to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance in order to ensure that everyone pays their fair share in tax.”

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