Scotland shows ‘highest growth in household wealth’

Scotland has experienced the highest growth in average household wealth in the UK over the last decade, growing by 66% versus 19% in London and 18% in the North East of England.

That’s according to the first St. James’s Place Financial Health Index report carried out in conjunction with the London-based Centre of Economics and BusinessResearch (CEBR).

“Notably, Scottish households have enjoyed the biggest wealth growth over the last ten years, attaining the highest annual growth rate across all regions, with average wealth in the region growing by 66%,” said the report.

“In comparison, average household wealth in the North East (of England) only grew by 18% in the same period, and by 19% in London.”

The report said financial health is four times higher in the South East of England than in the North East of England, “underlining the scale of efforts needed for ‘levelling up’ financial wealth and wellbeing” across the UK.

“The Index highlights a clear North-South divide with the South West (of England), the South East (of England) and the East of England performing much better on the Index than their northern counterparts.

“The South-East (of England) is the region with the strongest overall financial health, with a score of 76 out of a possible 100.

“Meanwhile, the North East (of England) is the lowest ranked region, attaining a score of only 19.”

Scotland scored 53.2 on the Index.

“Wales and Northern Ireland score low on the SJP UK Financial Health Index – 32 and 21 respectively – placing them third and second lowest after the North East,” said the report.

“Northern Ireland scores lowest (13) and Wales scores third lowest (23) on the Wealth Drivers pillar, and they rank lowest on perceived wealth too.

“People in Wales are most likely to attribute their growth in wealth to rising house prices (45%), and least likely to attribute wealth growth to investment performance (19%), while Northern Ireland is the region most likely to cite the cost of living as the key impediment behind wealth growth (51%).”

The report added: “When it comes to perceived wellbeing, the South East (of England) and London performed relatively poorly, despite being two of the highest ranking regions on the Wealth and Wealth Drivers pillars.

“Despite average total wealth in London at approximately £1 million, substantially more than any other region and the UK average of £384,208, the capital ranked the fourth lowest UK region for perceived wellbeing.

“When looking at two indicators in particular — being up to date with all bills and whether financial constraints impact quality of life — London attained the lowest score across all regions for both.

“In addition, the disparity between the average total wealth in London and the rest of the country is largely due to property prices which accounts for over half of Londoners’ average total wealth.”

Alex Loydon, Director of Partner Engagement and Consultancy, St. James’s Place, said: “Financial health captures much more than just our total wealth, it assesses the full picture of how comfortable and resilient we feel to handle pressures on our finances.

“The UK Financial Health Index shows that not only is wealth unevenly spread around the UK, but in some areas, there is a clear mismatch between the reality of people’s wealth and their own perception of being wealthy, meaning that people across all regions are experiencing poor financial health in one way or another.

“Clearly this is a complex picture and there are many factors that are impacting financial wellbeing across the country, and some of these are well outside our individual control while others require collective action.

“However, with the cost of living rising and greater strains on our money, it’s more important than ever to engage with finances and to have a plan in place.”

About the Author

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.