Revealed: The most unequal place in the UK

New research for Sky News, carried out by the Office for National Statistics, has revealed that the value of property owned by households in the capital has gone above £1tn for the first time, with more than a fifth of London households having total wealth of more than £1m.

But almost exactly the same proportion of Londoners live in the poorest households, with total wealth of under £20,000.

The term wealth includes the value of equity you have in a property, as well as savings, pension pot and possessions.

Many of England's most deprived areas are in the North West
Image:Many of England’s most deprived areas are in the North West
Revealed: The most unequal place in the UK
Revealed: The most unequal place in the UK

Sky News analysis shows pronounced regional variations, with households in South East England having more than double the wealth of those in the North East.

Scottish and Welsh households have, on average, more money than regions in the North of England or in either the West or East Midlands.

Our research shows that the poorest households in Britain are single-parent families in Wales and London. In both regions, couples with dependent children have 20 times the household wealth of single-parent families.

The richest are those inhabited by pensioners in London and the South East.

And there is one slice of society that now has median average wealth of well over £1m: households in the South East with no children, and where one resident is above pension age and the other below it. Their average wealth is £1,139,000 – the highest in the country.

Across London and the South East, about one in five households has a wealth of more than £1m – a much higher proportion than anywhere else in the country.

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These two regions now account for 43% of the value of all properties across the UK, even though they only include around a quarter of the nation’s households.

That means that people who own, or partly own, a property in either of those regions are very likely to have more property wealth than their counterparts in the rest of the country.

For the first time, our analysis has confirmed that London households now own property worth more than £1tn, and it is that property wealth that has boosted the capital’s bank accounts, as well as sharpening the distinction between the city’s haves and have-nots.

High property values also mean that the cost of living in the South East is higher than the rest of the country.

Alfie Newcombe

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As part of our research, we looked closely at differences across the nation. An economic model, called the Gini Coefficient, is used to analyse inequality in societies around the world. It runs from 0, where everything is owned equally, to 1, which means one person owns everything.

We already know that Britain as a whole scores 0.62, but what about the different regions? Sky News commissioned the ONS to use that method to build a picture of inequality across Britain.

What we discovered if that London is the most unequal place in the country with a Gini score of 0.67.

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At the other end of the scale, the South West of England comes out as the most equal region – it scores 0.56.

But the single most unequal slice of the entire British economy is actually the property market in the North East of England, which returns a remarkable Gini score of 0.97, suggesting that huge amounts of property wealth is concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of people.

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