UK net worth rises to £6.8 trillion

 

Britain's resilient property market helped increase the UK's worth by 3.3% to £6.8 trillion despite the economy slipping back into recession, figures revealed today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the UK's net value increased by £224 billion in 2011, meaning that every person in Britain is now worth £110,000.

The rise came in spite of a dire year for the economy, which began contracting in the final quarter of 2011.

Property values account for over half of household wealth as houses and flats have more than tripled in worth in the past 20 years, according to the ONS.

The ONS said properties were now worth more than £4 trillion across the UK, although the rise was more modest in 2011 than in previous years as property prices stagnated amid the economic uncertainty.

This slowed down the increase in Britain's net worth, while a near-40% slump in central government net worth also hit the value of the UK.

The ONS said a plunge in tax revenues hit the Government, forcing it to issue more government bonds to fund spending, which increased its liabilities and left its net worth £763 billion lower than in 2010.

Last year's figures may also have been flattered by rising inflation, which rose to 4.5% in 2011 while average weekly wages increased by just 2.4%.

The ONS said: "Despite the poor position of households and increase in government liabilities, UK total net worth increased during 2011.

"That said, price pressures were strong throughout the year according to both the Consumer Prices and Producer Price indices. Therefore despite the increase in wealth, some of this might be attributed to price increases during the period."

PA

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