Rise in household wealth masks huge inequalities

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The Independent Online

Household wealth in the UK has soared past the £7 trillion mark for the first time, according to research from a bank.

It suggests that total household wealth at the end of last year stood at £7.05 trillion, up £2.71 trillion over the last decade, or£86,000 per household.

The rise in the nation's wealth has far outstripped incomes and inflation. The consumer price index has climbed 29 per cent in a decade, while gross household disposable incomes have risen 44 per cent. In comparison the value of household wealth since 2002 has grown by 62 per cent. However most of the increase came prior to 2007, when the economy grew rapidly.

The research by Lloyds TSB Private Banking suggests that the average household is now worth £255,502. But it concedes that there is a massive divide between the wealthy and the rest. Nitesh Patel, economist at Lloyds TSB Private Banking, said: "While wealth has soared in the past decade, there is a large divide in where it has accumulated. The wealthiest 10 per cent of households hold 22 times more wealth, on average, than those in the bottom half."

The Office of National Statistics has revealed that the top 10 per cent of households are worth on average £1.82m; the bottom 50 per cent are worth £82,000.