Britain’s five richest families worth as much as poorest 20 per cent, says Oxfam

 

The UK’s five richest families have accumulated more wealth than the whole of the bottom 20 per cent of the population, with the gap between rich and poor continuing to grow, according to research published today.

The handful of billionaires – which includes property investor Charles Cadogan and Sports Direct boss Michael Ashley – have amassed a combined wealth of £28.2bn, more than the poorest 12.6 million people in Britain, according to Oxfam.

The charity said the findings were “deeply worrying”, and that such inequality was a “sign of economic failure”. The study is released ahead of Wednesday’s Budget.

Using figures from Forbes magazine’s latest list of billionaires, the study also warns that the UK’s wealthiest 0.1 per cent have seen their income grow nearly four times faster than the least well-off 90 per cent of the population.

Britain’s five wealthiest people boast a collective worth of £28.2bn, while the total accumulated by the bottom 20 per cent sat at £28.1bn.

Top of the pile is Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the 6th Duke of Westminster and owner of more than 100 acres in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia. His family’s wealth is estimated at $13bn (£7bn).

He is followed by property tycoons David and Simon Reuben, whose combined worth sits at $11.5bn, while the London-based brothers Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja are in third place with a combined wealth of $10bn.

 

Also included is Charles Cadogan, whose family’s wealth of $6.9bn is based on extensive landholdings in London’s Chelsea including much of Sloane Street and Cadogan Hall; and the sports chain owner Michael Ashley, whose estate is valued at $5.5bn.

The report asserts that widening inequality is creating a “vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest behind”.

“This means the rules are constantly rewritten in favour of the rich, for example through policies such as lower taxes for high earners,” it says.

Oxfam’s findings come in the wake of a report in January which said that the 85 richest people on the planet had accumulated as much wealth as half of the world’s population.

Ben Phillips, Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, said: “Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, whilst millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline.”

A Labour spokesman said: “While people on low and middle incomes are worse off, David Cameron has given the top one per cent of earners a £3bn tax cut this year. He’s totally out of touch with ordinary people and always stands up for the privileged few.”

Separate figures published yesterday suggested that the consequences of rising inequality cost £39bn a year.

The study by the Equality Trust also found that the UK’s 100 wealthiest people have as much money as the poorest 18 million – 30 per cent of all households.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links