New data: Households in West Midlands regained wealth

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Households in the East and West Midlands have seen the largest growth in Great Britain in terms of wealth, latest data from a survey of April 2018 to March 2020 has shown.

The Wealth and Assets Survey released on Thursday by Office of the National Statistics (ONS) found that the wealth of typical households in West Midlands now have stood at £262,400, a 13% increase from £232,700 from the period of April 2016 to March 2018.

That figure was a moderate decrease from £238,300 found in another survey between July 2006 to June 2008.

Similarly, the East Midlands saw 14% growth in household wealth compared to the previous survey period.

The dataset from ONS also presented a big gap between different regions in terms of wealth. The South East remained as the wealthiest region which experienced one of the fastest increases in average (median) wealth reaching to £503,400, a 43% increase since 2006.

The North East and Scotland regions showed lowest median household wealth. They experienced a decrease in wealth compared with the previous period, of 7% and 12% respectively, the survey results showed.

The average wealth in the North East was just £168,500, about one-third of the average level of wealth in the South East. It is one of the few regions where median wealth is now lower than in 2006.  London also experienced a large decrease (8%) in terms of median wealth. Home ownership and pension participation rates were the reasons, the data release said.

Dr Erez Yerushalmi, a Senior Lecturer in Economics of Birmingham City Business School, thinks that lack of effective transportation systems and unavailability of jobs are the driven forces behind this regional wealth gap.

“You could easily see that there is no direct rail link between the East and the West. And most of the regions lack jobs compared to their population demography,” he said.

Indicating that a federal government system like the United States is required for equal prosperity of all regions, Dr Erez observed that everything now seems like London-centric. This approach is not good for the equal prosperity of a big country like the United Kingdom.

“You should provide more power to the local communities to give them a chance to grow”, he said.

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