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Monday, January 18, 2010

Labour fails to tackle wealth gap

This morning's Western Mail reports Government figures that reveal that personal wealth in Wales amounts to nearly £500bn – but well over half of that is held by just a fifth of the population.

The Office of National Statistics say that the most affluent sector in Wales possesses an average wealth of more than £1.1m each – compared to just £9,000 each among the poorest fifth. The average family in the country’s wealthiest 20% could give £1 to every other household in the country – and still be nearly 10 times as wealthy as those in the poorest 20% of the population.

The details are stark. These figures are compiled by calculating the wealth accrued by Welsh households across four areas: property, cash, physical assets and pension equity.

For the wealthiest group in Wales – with each 20% amounting to some 256,000 households – the pension fund is £147.2bn.

Yet the poorest 256,000 families have combined pension contributions of just £500m. In property terms, whilst the poorest group struggles under the burden of a collective £300m debt, the most affluent sector possess combined property assets of £24.4bn. Overall, 62% of Welsh wealth is owned by just 20% of the population, while the worst off fifth possess 0.5%.

There is of course nothing wrong with creating wealth, the prosperity of our economy depends on it. However, the significance of these figures lies not so much in how well the richest in Wales are doing but in the fate of the poorest in our society.

It is difficult to imagine how any household can survive on an accumulated wealth of £9,000. As Dylan Jones-Evans says, our objective must be to raise the standards of living of the fifth of our population who are amongst the poorest in the UK. Such an achievement would benefit both them and our economy.

The fact that we are still here after nearly 13 years of Labour Government is a damning indictment of their failure to tackle poverty both in Wales and the UK.
I would have thought the "Fuel Poverty" figures for Wales, specifically for Bridgend would have been of more interest.

There's a hell of a lot of people in Wales who are spending more than 10% of their income on heating their homes.
alot of those people (the richest 20%) are the landowners one farmer is getting £164,000 subsidy every year and he's still after Bovine tB compensation from the assembly which the assembly will pay instead of providing for poor students with a proper grant, the future of wales prosperity. let's all put our head down the toilet for 30 secs!
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