Richest 1,000 People Have More Wealth Than Poorest 40%

The Equality Trust has today published its annual Wealth Tracker, analysing the extreme wealth of Britain’s richest people.

This year it finds that the richest 1,000 people have more wealth than the poorest 40% of households [1]. The 1,000 richest saw their wealth increase by a staggering £82.5 billion last year, the equivalent of £226 million a day, or £2,615 a second.

The Equality Trust has found that this increase in wealth of £82.5 billion could:

  • Pay the energy bills [2] of all 25.6 million UK households for two and a half years. Cost = £79.15 billion OR
  • Provide 5,143,819 million Living Wage jobs [3], or 2,923,333 million jobs paid at an average salary [4] for a year. Cost = £82.476 billion OR
  • Pay the grocery bill for all of the UK’s users of food banks for 56 years [5]. Cost = £81.5 billion OR
  • Pay two years’ rent for 4.5 million households (4,528,000 households) [6].  Cost = £72.1 billion OR
  • Pay for 68% of the budget for the NHS in England [7] Cost = £81.6 billion
  • Pay for 4 years of adult social care in England [8]. Cost = £78.8 billion

The Wealth Tracker can be found here.

Dr. Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:

“The super-rich continue to streak away from the rest of us, while the poorest see their wealth shrink. This is an economy working for the few, not the many. 

“Record numbers of people visited food banks last year, millions are locked out of a decent home, and two thirds of children in poverty are in working households. All this in the fifth largest economy in the world, with a handful of super-rich ‘elites’ sitting on mountains of wealth. 

“We know that inequality damages our economy and society, and makes it harder for ordinary people and their children to get on. With the General Election fast approaching our politicians need to decide the sort of country they want to build. One where we can all prosper, or one where we’re picking crumbs from the super-rich’s table.”

Notes to editors

[1] All estimates of wealth of the 1,000 richest people are based on those published in the Sunday Times Rich List 2017. The 1,000 richest in Britain, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, are worth £658 billion. The measurement of British household wealth can be found here: omeandwealth/compendium/wealthingreatbritainwave4/2012to2014/chapter2totalwealthw ealthingreatbritain2012to2014   

[2] Combined average gas and electricity bill = £1,236. (DECC Quarterly energy prices, 2016, p5) 

[3} Salary of UK Living Wage worker on £8.45/hr, assuming a 37.5 hour week and zero pay for bank holidays: £16,034

[4] Full time employees: average annual pay = £28,813, this does not include NI and pension contributions. (ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2016, median gross full-time annual earnings) 

[5] The Trussell Trust reported 1,182,954 user visits (not unique users) to food banks in 2016- 17. Taking one person’s average annual food cost of £1,230.70 (average weekly food spend of £56.80, divided by average number of people in household (2.4) and multiplied by 52 weeks in a year) the annual grocery bill for these users would be £ 1,455,861,488. (£1.5bn) As figures are not unique users, this is an over-estimate.

[6]The average private rent for UK tenancies outside London in 2015/16 was £153 per week, or £7,956 per year. There were 4,528,000 privately renting households in 2015/16.  

[7] The budget for the NHS in England for 2016/17 is £120 billion.

[8] Adult social care budget for England 2016/17 is £19.7bn. Figure from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services 

The Equality Trust is a registered charity that works to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality. UK income inequality is among the highest in the developed world and evidence shows that this results in poorer mental and physical health, higher violent crime, poorer educational outcomes and lower levels of trust. Inequality affects us all. For further comments or to arrange an interview, contact