With some of the most expensive properties in the UK, the residents of Kensington and Chelsea have never tended to be short on cash. But now a survey has shown that the average salary in the west London borough has exceeded £100,000 a year for the first time.
The survey, by Barclays Bank, also shows the Royal Borough had the fastest-growing average earnings in the country over the past five years, cementing its reputation as the play pad of Britain's highest earners.
The survey used details of income paid into Barclay's customers' current accounts, and calculated earnings across the UK. The sample covered about seven million people. London districts dominated the top of the table, with average earnings in Kensington more than £20,000 higher than the closest competitors, Westminster (£81,425) and Hampstead and Highgate (£77,500).
Outside London, Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire was the wealthiest in the South-east, and Tatton in Cheshire, popular with highly paid footballers in the North-east, is the highest scoring area outside London and the commuter belt, ranking 13th in the survey's league table.
Bret Packard, the managing director of Barclays Premier Banking, said: "High incomes are no longer unusual in the UK: there are more than a million individuals in the country earning over £100,000 a year.And there is no doubt the influx of wealthy foreigners from overseas has had a positive effect on earnings [in Kensington and Chelsea]."
The UK's favourable tax regulations for resident but non-domiciled foreigners, and the City's relaxed approach to financial regulation, has made London attractive for wealthy foreigners and their global businesses.
One Kensington resident is the Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, the richest man in the UK. He owns the most expensive house in the country in Kensington Palace Gardens, informally known as "Billionaire's Row". The area is also popular with Russians, with London's largest Russian Orthodox church on Princes Gate.
The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a survey this month, which showed that although the rich are becoming wealthier the "prosperity gap", between them and the less well-off, is widening. The IPPR, Tony Blair's favourite think-tank, accused the Government of being "in denial" over the yawning North/South divide. Sue Stirling, the director of IPPR North, said: "The Government needs to get real on the North/South divide. Targets for wealth distribution set by Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor were inadequate."
Based on the Government's target of gross value, added as a measure of regional economic output, the report shows that the gap had actually widened. A study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows the proportion of "average families" in London is declining.
Some analysts forecast that the average property price in the capital is to soar to £500,000 by 2012.
City analyst Howard Wheeldon of BGC Partners, argues however that tax laws generate a "massive trickle-down effect". He said: "Britain's economy used to be based on manufacturing, but good conditions for the services industry have benefited the financial sector."
The Top 50 wealthiest places
Region/Area/Current average gross household annual income
London/Ken & Chelsea/£101,600
London/Lon & Westminster/£81,425
London/H'stead & Highgate/£77,500
S East/Esher and Walton/£71,800
S East/Mole Valley/£71,500
S East/SW Surrey/£67,825
S East/Tonbridge and Malling/£63,550
S East/NE Hampshire/£63,475
London/Finchley and G Green/£63,200
S East/Ches & Amersham/£62,075
London/Hamm & Fulham/£61,325
S East/SW Herts/£59,725
S East/R'mede & Weybridge/£59,425
London/Regents Park & Ken N/£58,800
S East/Epsom and Ewell/£57,875
S East/Bromley & Chislehurst/£57,125
S East/East Surrey/£56,575
East/Brentwood and Ongar/£56,400
N West/Altrincham and Sale/£56,075
S East/Tunbridge Wells/£55,975
S East/Surrey Heath/£55,375
S East/Hitchin and Harpenden/£55,350
S East/Epping Forest/£55,050
E Mids/West Derbyshire/£54,700
S East/Arundel and S Downs/£53,375
S East/St Albans/£53,250
S East/Woking/£53,000Reuse content