The top 0.1 per cent of the UK’s income distribution — that’s 47,000 people with a pre-tax income of more than £350,000 — would be just enough to fit into Manchester City’s Stadium (at least they could afford a season ticket).
This, and other gems, are contained in ‘High Income Individuals: Racing Away?‘, a new Institute of Fiscal Studies study. The top 0.1 per cent has an average pre-tax income of £780,000 per year (for our American readers, that’s about $1,500,000). The average pre-tax income of all income tax payers is £25,000 per year. The top 10% have seen faster income growth than the population as a whole, and the top 0.1% have experienced the fastest growth of all — globalization is of enormous benefit to the UK’s financial sector (and Premier League football players aren’t doing too badly either).
UK Income inequality is now at its highest level since the 1940s. And, northerners tend to have much lower average incomes than southerners, as Sir Stuart Rose, boss of M&S recently pointed out (story here). So, more sales of champagne in the south than flat caps in the north.
Yet, Britain is still significantly less unequal than the US: our Gini coefficient is 0.35, while the US Gini is 0.46 (the higher the Gini, the more unequal the society). Income inequality started to rise in the 1980s (Tony Atkinson’s WIDER annual lecture explains why). Still, the Guardian’s leader today is right to wonder whether everyone is getting “a fair kick of the ball” (as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, recently stated).
Now, how many of Britain’s richest are playing for United or City? (That’s enough football for now – ed.)