Economics

In the News

Inequality in the UK

Ruth Tarrant

11th January 2017

Jeremy Corbyn announced in an interview on Tuesday that inequality in the UK has been getting worse. He is both right and wrong - because your take on inequality depends on which data you use.

The ONS released their annual statistics on inequality earlier this week, which show a decline in the UK's Gini coefficient - the chart below is taken from their report.

The UK's Gini Coefficient - ONS

However, careful reading of this BBC report suggests that if we look at income after housing costs, then inequality has worsened. Furthermore, if we treat the data on income in a more granular way, we can see that the richest 0.1% have become considerably richer.

We could also look at inequality in terms of wealth, rather than income. The latest data available for the UK is from 2014 (another useful evaluation point!). It tells us that the wealthiest 10% of UK households own 45% of the UK's wealth compared with just 9% of wealth for the least-wealthy 10%. Households in the South East are the wealthiest, and across the UK, half of households have wealth of at least £225,100.

Ruth Tarrant

Ruth has been an enthusiastic Head of Economics and Politics for many years, having taught in a variety of schools and at university level. She is also a Senior Examiner. Ruth is passionate about boosting the quality of teaching and learning across all subjects in schools and colleges.

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