Wealth divide: Scotland’s richest are 200 times better off than nation’s poorest

The richest 10 per cent in Scotland are more than 200 times wealthier than the poorest 10 per cent, new figures show.

By Craig Paton
Friday, 18th February 2022, 11:18 am
Updated Friday, 18th February 2022, 12:21 pm

The median wealth held by the richest in the country rose to £1,651,700 between 2018 and 2020, the Scottish Government data shows, and has risen by 32 per cent since 2006-08.

In contrast, median wealth for the poorest 10 per cent was just £7,600 – a difference of 217 times.

The figure for the poorest has more than doubled from £3,500 in 2006-08, but has fallen from a peak of £8,100 in 2014-16.

The report is based on Scottish Government data.

The absolute wealth gap between the top 10 per cent and the poorest 40 per cent in Scotland was £1,614,900, which has grown by 32 per cent since 2006-08.

The figures, which come from a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), found the median household wealth in Scotland to be £214,000.

One in three people said they do not have the required savings to keep themselves above the poverty line should they lose their job.

JK Rowling, Anders Povlsen and Sir Ian Wood are among the richest people in Scotland.

Half the people in the bottom 20 per cent of earners in Scotland are deemed financially vulnerable, compared to just 8 per cent of the highest 20 per cent of earners.

Some 46 per cent of households who would struggle to financially see out a month after losing their income include a person who is disabled – up 8 per cent since 2006-08.

The number of households who reported living with unmanageable debt has dropped from 6 per cent to 4 per cent in Scotland in the past 14 years.

Some 72 per cent of the households who reported struggling with debt were in the lowest 40 per cent of earners, the figures show, compared to just 3 per cent of the top earners.

The second lowest 20 per cent of earners also added another 10 per cent to those reporting debt to be at an unmanageable level.

The gap between the richest and poorest in terms of property wealth also expanded, with the bottom 10 per cent reporting a median property wealth of £18,000, compared to £500,000 in the top 10 per cent.

The figure for the poorest declined from £23,200 in 2006-08, while their wealthy counterparts saw median property wealth rise from £469,600.

Median pension wealth was even more unequal than wealth in general, with the bottom 10 per cent boasting just £1,700, and the top 10 per cent reporting £617,300 in pensions – 363 times more than the poorest Scots.

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