Scots household wealth £1 trillion, but inequality high

The Scottish Government said on Tuesday that new statistics released by the Chief Statistician show households in Scotland had just over £1 trillion in personal wealth in 2016-2018.

The “experimental” statistics showed rising household wealth in Scotland in recent years, while wealth inequality remained high.

The report said wealth growth since 2010-2012 was caused mainly by rising pension wealth.

It said a typical household in the wealthiest 10% of Scottish households had £1.6 million in total wealth, whereas a typical household in the least wealthy 10% of households had £7,500.

“Wealth inequality was more severe than income inequality: the 2% of households with the highest incomes had 9% of all income, while the wealthiest 2% of households had 15% of all wealth,” said the Scottish Government.

After a previous decline, wealth inequality has been largely unchanged since 2010-2012.

“The least wealthy households rarely own property or have any private pension savings,” said the Scottish Government.

“Their wealth is mainly made up of the value of their possessions such as clothing or furniture.

“Households that tend to be wealthier than others are pensioner couples, married couples, home owners or households with higher formal qualifications.

“On the other hand, households that often have below average wealth are lone parent households, those in social rented housing, or where the head of the household is unemployed or economically inactive but not retired.

“One third of households had insufficient savings to cover basic living costs for three months in the event of an emergency.

“Three per cent of households were in unmanageable debt.

“A third of households had no property wealth, and almost a fifth of households had no private pension wealth.”

Estimates in the statistics are based on data from the the Office for National Statistics’ Wealth and Assets Survey, which covers a range of topics around wealth and assets in Great Britain, including financial wealth and debt, property wealth and private pension savings.          

Personal wealth includes financial wealth, property wealth, private pension savings (including occupational and personal pensions), and physical wealth (possessions such as cars, furniture and clothing).

Data from the Wealth and Assets Survey has been collected since 2006-2008. The latest data covers the period from April 2016 to March 2018.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.