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Income Inequality Soars With Five UK Families Wealthier Than Bottom 20%

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The UK's five richest families have more cash between them than the poorest 20% of the entire population, 12.6 million Britons, with new research showing the chasm between rich and poor is growing wider.

The gap between the rich and the rest has grown significantly over the last two decades, according to new figures published today by Oxfam.

In the last 20 years, the wealthiest 0.1 percent have seen their income grow nearly four times faster than the least well off 90 percent of the population.

The five richest families in Britain have a combined wealth of £28.2 billion, according to Forbes, and the poorest 20% of the UK population, 12.6 million people,have a combined wealth of £28.1 billion.

Those families and individuals are:

  • Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor & family (£13bn)
  • David & Simon Reuben (£11.5bn)
  • The Hinduja Brothers (£10bn)
  • Charles Cadogan & family (£6.9bn)
  • Michael Ashley (£5.5bn)

In real terms, that means a wealthy elite have seen their income grow by £24,000 a year, enough to buy a small yacht or a sports car, whilst the bottom 90% of Britons’ incomes have gone up by only a few pounds a week. The average UK salary is £26,500r.

Ben Phillips, Oxfam’s Director of Campaigns and Policy, said: “Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, whilst millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.

“It’s deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline.”

Oxfam has called for this week's Budget to show a redoubling of efforts to clamp down on companies and individuals who avoid paying tax and a hike in the minimum wage to a living wage.

The findings echo a previous report report published ahead of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, which revealed revealed that the richest 85 people on the planet own the same amount between them as half the world’s population – 3.5 billion people.

Ben Phillips said: “While many rich people use a portion of their wealth to support individual good causes, this should not be used as an excuse for governments failing to tackle the problem of growing inequality.”
  • Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor & family (£13bn)
    The Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, is the richest property developer in the country. He and his family own around 300 acres of land and vast chunks of London's Mayfair and Belgravia.
  • David & Simon Reuben (£11.5bn)
    The brothers made their fortune investing in Russia's metals market. By 2000, they quit doing business in Russia and shifted their attention towards the UK property market and have been involved in financing major acquisitions and investments in tech firms.
  • The Hinduja Brothers (£10bn)
    Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja co-chair the Hinduja Group, a multinational conglomerate, which has interests in firms ranging from trucks and lubricant to banks and healthcare.
  • Charles Cadogan & family (£6.9bn)
    Charles, the 8th Earl of Cadogan, gets his wealth from the 90 acres he owns which stretch across Chelsea and Knightsbridge. Cadogan, who started out at merchant banker Schroder Wagg, has been classed as the second richest UK-based peer behind the Duke of Westminster.
  • Michael Ashley (£5.5bn)
    Retail entrepreneur Ashley made his millions after starting up the Sports Direct chain. He also paid £135m to buy Newcastle United football club.

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