1,000 richest Britons now hold assets worth £547 billions, 13m Britons now in poverty, half in work

The Murdoch paper Sunday Times has just published its Rich List for 2015 which shows that the richest 1,000 persons based in Britain now have wealth valued at £547.1bn.   That works out at an average level of wealth of nearly £550 millions per person, though there are wide variations between the threshold level of £100 millions at the base to £13.2 billions at the top (someone called Len Blavatnik).   These are not only staggering figures, but perhaps even more staggeringly, they have more than doubled since the financial crash in 2009.   In that year the richest thousand had £258 millions, but they now have 112% more.   They include 117 billionaires with a total wealth of £325 billions, nearly £3 billions each on average.   Indeed Britain apparently now has more billionaires per 100,000 of the population than any other country in the G20 group of the world’s biggest economies, more even than the US.   The number of billionaires in Britain has almost trebled in the past decade: there were only 40 in 2005.

This is the richest 0.003% of the population.   At the other end of the spectrum there are now over 13 million persons in poverty households as officially defined, i.e. the household’s total income is less than 60% of the national median income.   That works out, though varying according to family size, to about £240 a week.   What however is most disturbing, though little recognised, is that in more than half these households at least one person is in work.   This arises because the national minimum wage is very low (£6.50 per hour), and even that is rarely enforced against unscrupulous employers, but also because of the alarming zero hours contracts system.   That accounts for some 20% of the population at the bottom; in contrast the top 1% take home in excess of £3,000 a week, including thousands who are millionaires getting over £20,000 a week.

Inequality in Britain is now grotesque.   What should be done?   Labour is proposing a Living Wage of at least £8 per hour at the base and at the top a mansion tax on properties worth over £2m, an increase in the top rate of income tax from 45% to 50%, and a bankers’ bonus tax to raise £2.5bn.   But that is nowhere near enough to bring inequality within acceptable limits.   What is really needed is a wealth tax.    A wealth tax pitched at 1% should raise £5.5bn from the richest 1,000 persons so long as it was made clear that any failure to report the true and accurate level of wealth would be penalised by doubling the rate of tax.   A wealth tax aimed at the richest 1% (some 310,000 persons) would of course raise several more billions.   To assist in the rigorous collection of these taxes the number of tax inspectors, which the Tories (and Blair-Brown before them) hugely reduced, should be built up to whatever level necessary since ARC, their professional body, calculates that they raise between 30-180 times their salary each year

 

17 thoughts on “1,000 richest Britons now hold assets worth £547 billions, 13m Britons now in poverty, half in work

  1. Most serious people that I have heard discussing, (and it’s an old and somewhat tired debate,) this tend to agree that such a wealth tax, (which I seem to recall that the French already have and with only mixed results,) is probably never really going to be that effective in the real world and that in the end the only real answer is to tax fixed assets such as property; but I suspect, (I’m not altogether sure just how wide ranging the definition of uncompetitive actually is,) that once the full ramifications of TTIP and TAFTA etc sink in even that may now be illegal.

    I think taxing any property, (and particularly when more than one property is owned,) valued at over 1 million would be good and appropriate place to start.

  2. “Inequality in Britain is now grotesque.”

    It certainly is but it isn’t the wealthiest 0.01% who are the real problem, it’s, (the under Blair,) much expended middle classes, the better off 20%, (with final salary pensions, property portfolios, access to private health-care and education etc,) particularly when contrasted with increasingly desperate plight of everyone else but particularly with the majority; the low paid, those in part time or insecure employment and those unemployed and the old and of course the disabled.

    But such inequality is always a characteristic, (along with a US supported and financed right wing elite backed by a paramilitary police force,) of the kind of neoliberal, (I’d use the term, “protectionist,” of US interests and hegemony,) economy being preached by Miliband and vigorously as by Cameron, where ever it is has been inflicted, be it in the UK today or across South America and Caribbean historically.

  3. In a recent TV interview Ed Miliband showed that he’s taken on board the fact that inequality is bad for the economy and for the country as a whole. So he’s been listening to Mr Meacher and/or like minded people, which is very good. So there is hope!

    The real problem remains that not all of the people who would most benefit from a Labour government will vote for Labour, and that their reasons for not doing so make little sense. They’re mainly to do with whatever Tony Blair did many years ago, even though he did a lot of good and no longer has anything to do with the government.

    They’re considering voting for UKIP, who are even worse than the Tories, or for the Greens, who stand little chance of gaining any more seats than the single one they already hold.

    If we end up with another 5 years of the Tories it’ll be their fault!!
    I only wish they’d see sense.

  4. Yes inequality is bad, and Ed Miliband agrees. But the bottom line is quite simple, he has no control over anything. The Banks control UK PLC and USA PLC. We will forever be paying the interest off an alledged deficit which can be wiped off immediately by creating one coin for the Bank of England and telling it to F off and bringing back the control of money of money to the tax payer. But that is not going to happen. I mean it could since we bailed out the banks and thus it is possible, but no PM who wants to further his career will do so. Thus the inequalities will continue and continue and the generations in the future will be put into economic slavery.

    Lets face it, no matter what party is in power, theyll be as powerless as the last.

    The who estbalishment is a scam.

  5. The whole establishment system is a scam. It is engraned into society in this country and it will take a monument shift to change it. Unfortunately for us joe public is to busy watching eastenders, coronation street etc.

  6. How can one say tony b done well he wasnt a labour supporter he wasnt a honest man yet damage he took the party so far right it cant find its own way back to the left tb done so much damage whot does one say he even jump ship to make more monies his religiousness out the window whot a man took us to war most didnt want now its the wild west out in those countrys whot a man hay brought so much greed into the party that it cant make up its mind who they are yes tb brought much gordon also done damage look at the dentist fragmented it yes he made the poor teeth dental care none existence hum labour they were just another tory party in red ties damaged this party so much tainted it beyound repair jeff3

  7. Jeffery Davies-

    That’s such a good reply to Wanda Lozinska, (above,) that I can’t really think of anything much to add other than that old saw, (about Labor,) “Fool me once, same on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” lets face it Miliband and co are about as socialist as say Mayor Emanuel of Chicago or any other American corporate puppet .

  8. Wanda Lozinska-

    On reflection few of the comments you’ve made here are quites as out of touch or as damning as, “in a recent TV interview Ed Miliband showed that he’s taken on board the fact that inequality is bad for the economy and for the country as a whole.”

    The leader of the British Labor party shouldn’t have needed someone like Micheal Meacher to explain all that to him, he should have known already; in his heart and in his blood, and it’s that deficiency and lack of moral conviction, (not just people like me,) that have lost Scotland to Labor and probably also the next election.

    The moral is; Never send a Tory to do a Socialist’s job.

  9. https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/labours-achievements-lest-we-forget/

    1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
    2. Low mortgage rates.
    3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52 per hour.
    4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
    5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
    6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
    7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
    8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
    9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
    10. 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens.
    11. 85,000 more nurses.
    12. 32,000 more doctors.
    13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
    14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
    15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
    16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
    17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
    18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.
    19. Restored city-wide government to London.
    20. Record number of students in higher education.
    21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.
    22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
    23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
    24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
    25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
    26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
    27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
    28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.
    29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
    30. The Child Poverty Act – 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
    31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
    32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
    33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
    34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997: the shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
    35. Banned fox hunting.
    36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
    37. Free TV licences for over-75s.
    38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
    39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
    40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s and disabled people.
    41. New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
    42. Over 3 million child trust funds started.
    43. Free eye test for over 60s.
    44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.
    45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.
    46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
    47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
    48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.
    49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.
    50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.
    51. Gender Recognition Act 2004/5
    52. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
    53. Walk-in Health Centres and GP out of hours Service.
    54. Digital hearing aids, through the NHS.
    55. Children’s Act 2004, 2008 – Every Child Matters.
    56. Introduced Smoke–Free legislation, 2007 – child health improving continually since.
    57. Retail Distribution Review – ending commission for financial advisers
    58. Introduced legislation to make company ‘blacklisting’ unlawful.
    59. The Equality Act.
    60. Established the Disability Rights Commission in 1999.
    61. The Human Rights Act.
    62 Signed the European Social Chapter.
    63. Launched £1.5 billion Housing Pledge of new affordable housing.
    64. The Autism Act 2009.
    65. New Deal for Communities Regeneration Programme.
    66. All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer.
    67. Introduced vaccination to be offered to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer.
    68. Rough sleeping dropped by two thirds and homelessness at its lowest level since the early 1980s
    69. 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act.
    70. Increased Britain’s offshore wind capacity than any country in the world, to provide enough electricity to power 2 million homes .
    71. Led the campaign to win the 2012 Olympics for London.
    72. Introduced the first ever British Armed Forces and Veterans Day to honour past and present achievements of our armed forces.
    73. Created a new right of pedestrian access, so that every family has equal opportunity to access the national coastline.
    74. Led the campaign to agree a new international convention banning all cluster munitions.
    75. Launched the Swimming Challenge Fund to support free swimming for over 60s and under 16s.
    76. Sustainable Communities Act – created community safety partnerships.
    77. Set up a dedicated Department for International Development.
    78. Cancelled approximately 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
    79. Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year, globally.
    80. Helped to get 40 million more children into school, globally.
    81. Polio is on the verge of being eradicated, globally.
    82. 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
    83. Improved water/sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
    84. Launched a Governance and Transparency Fund to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries.
    85. The Neighbourhood Renewal programme – introduced funding for neighbourhood improvements.
    86. The Extending Schools Program – included Breakfast & Homework clubs to improved levels of educational achievement and the longer term life chances of disadvantaged children.
    87. Launched the Connexions Service – provided valuable careers advice and support to young people seeking employment.
    88. Working Family Tax credits to support low paid parents in work and to pay for childcare.
    89. The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
    90. Established The Future Jobs Fund to provide all young people access to a job, training or education.
    91. Introduced Warm Front – helped 2.3 million vulnerable households, those in fuel poverty with energy efficiency improvements.
    92. Guaranteed paid holidays – introduced a law to ensure that everyone who works is entitled to a minimum paid holiday of 5.6 weeks,
    93. The right to request flexible working.
    94. Improved work hours – introduced a law so employers cannot force employees to work more than 48 hours a week.
    95. Protection against unfair dismissal – introduced protections for workers and increased the maximum compensation from £12,000 to around £63,000.
    96. Introduced Rights for Part-time workers – the right to equal pay rates, pension rights, pro-rata holidays and sick pay.
    97. Introduced the Right to breaks at work
    98. Introduced the Right to representation – every worker can be a member of a trade union and be represented in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
    99. Rights for parents and carers – introduced the right to time off to deal with unexpected problems for their dependants, such as illness.
    100. Introduced literacy and numeracy hours in schools and extended diversity to the curriculum.
    101. Reduced class sizes to 30 for 5-7 year old children.
    102. Introduced a public interest test, allowing governments to block international business takeovers on three specific grounds: media plurality, national security or financial stability.
    103. The Bribery Act 2010
    104. Established the Standards Board for England under Labour’s Local Government Act 2000 for promoting and ensuring high ethical standards and code of conduct in local government.
    105. Climate Change Act 2008.

  10. JP –
    Ref “Ed Miliband showed that he’s taken on board the fact that inequality is bad for the economy and for the country as a whole.”

    We’re no to know where he learnt this. Could have been at school, from reading books or on his father’s knee for all we know!

    I hope you find the above refresher course on Labour’s achievements of interest!

  11. Wanda Lozinska-

    The trouble with all that is most of it just complete and utter crap when but particularly placed in the context of the climate of sustained abuse at Mid Staffs, the similar failures under Labor at Rotherham, Sheffield, Rochdale and elsewhere, ATOS and WCA for the disabled, criminalization of the unemployed the continuing privatization of public services, (teaching, education and training little more than racket these days the Police not far behind,) continuing immunity for criminal acts committed by politicians and a legacy of public debt, (much of it off balance sheet,) such as the PFI and other equally dubious private means of financing to public services that consist of selling them on rentiers that, were developed and extended under Blair.

    The continuing beak up of the UK:

    14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
    15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.

    and so on…………………………….

  12. But probably Blair-Labor’s greatest, most conspicuous and lasting achievement was to create the most comprehensively rotten and completely corrupt, (“you can hire an MP the same way you’d hire a London taxi,”) government in living memory.

    Which is the real problem and a fact which renders pretty much everything else completely irreverent.

  13. 18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year = Tax evasion.

    and so on……………….

    I did take the time to read your list and for the reason’s cited above, (I’m skeptical about climate change and even more skeptical about expensive and draconian measures being advocated allegedly to combat it, for example,) I regard too much of it as being more than damning and as generally pretty undesirable.

    In fact contained in your list of Labor achievements are enough reasons, (I’ve indicated but a few,) to make any sane person vote for anyone else, from preference, but the toxic, (and largely Tory,) legacy of Blair-Labor.

    Take care.

  14. Yes tb brought greed into a once proud party but also started dismantling of the nhs yes whot a man to beholding to jeff3

  15. Wanda Lozinska-

    I don’t know if you’ll even bother to read this, but one last and serious thought about Blair, (before this gets a bit too cross, because clearly we disagree about much,) despite his personal flaws and failings, (which we all have,) I think both he and the country were as much the victims of circumstance and accident.

    His extravagant, (and often deranged,) public program which you outline above was only possible because it was being financed on the back of an unsustainable, but record breaking financial bubble and Blair and Brown were far from being the only people left standing there with their pants round their ankles and their underpants on their heads when it all started to fall apart.

    “An end to boom bust,” indeed?

    Then there was Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The real trouble came as it always does, when in increasing desperation, (even panic,) he started selling of public assets and services to generally American, companies and corporations that are effectively just rentiers, (America has operated what is essentially a rentier economy since the late 1970’s,) compounded by breaking up the UK into ever smaller and more fragmented and ineffective, (against the interests of the uncountable international corporations,) political units and massive transfer of political power away from Parliament and our elected MP’s to an opaque and uncountable executive.

    So Blair; evil genius or straightforward imbecile, (or simply very human and very fallible,) take your pick, but the mess, (financial and other,) he’s left the UK with isn’t going to be fixed by a Tory like Miliband, that I know for sure.

  16. JP –
    Yes I have” bothered” to read your comments but still don’t understand why you won’t vote for Labour this time around, even if it’s just to ensure the hated Tories (who are still killing people) are booted out. This should be the priority for everyone who has suffered from their heartless policies and who wants to see a fairer society.

    Whatever Blair and Brown may have done over 5 years ago is actually irrelevant at this moment. What the Tories have done over the last 5 years and what they plan to do should they get a further 5 years is anything but irrelevant.

    I’ve heard Ed Miliband speak and have read about what he believes in, and I do not believe that he’s anything like the Tories who are devastating this country. So he’s still our very best option.

  17. Hum yet ed has the other ed r and r and so on his job made harder by these tb babies yet we have to vote for em I think has mps they will get gheir eyes openned by the electorate who lost interest in them all when greed took hold of Westminster yet will they listen id rather doubt we are now run by companies who tell you whot they want ttip another ploy to sell us out yet weakened by the greed the people will awake and I wonder will I be alive to see it happening theworkers taking back vcontrol has we owe nowt but you want us to feel austerity yep if all these private contractors are thrown out from councils and government’s contracts ie dipping into the tax payers pot then work will be provided by government and councils once again you see it was never about saving monies it was only about getting their greedie hands on that monies were they took their proffits offshore yes untill that day were the people open their ears and minds jeff3

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