Every region better off than past year, research finds

Ross Houston
August 31, 2016

A new report claims Wales is more prosperous than a year ago, but it's still low down in the UK's wealth rankings.

Scotland led the way in terms of increase in household wealth over the previous year, according to the report - rising by 13%, pushing it up into seventh place overall.

This increase in wealth may be down to the large increase in private pension wealth in particular, where the median increased by 60 per cent, compared with 24 per cent for Wales and 19 per cent for England, it added.

It says wealth, spending or earnings rose across the United Kingdom in the 12 months to April 2016, while jobless rates dropped.

But Paul Swinney, principal economist at Centre for Cities think tank, said it was important to remember that there was still some way to go to ensure that everyone in the United Kingdom could enjoy equal levels of prosperity.

The research uses factors such as average annual pay, the percentage of households giving to charity, business growth rates and exam scores to generate a "prosperity index" score for each area of the UK.

Despite uncertain economic conditions due to volatile stock markets, China's slowdown and the lead up to Brexit, Northern Ireland saw average earnings increase by nearly a 10th.

Jonathan Dobbin, head of wealth and investment management Northern Ireland at Barclays, said: "It is very encouraging to see that prosperity in Northern Ireland is on an upwards trajectory". In London, average earnings actually decreased by 1% over the same period.

But other cities including Bristol, Cambridge and Manchester saw faster house price rises and a boom for small businesses - while in the capital overall earnings fell by a per cent.

Meanwhile, Bristol and Cambridge have become "increasingly attractive areas to live and work", with house prices rising 13% and 14% respectively in the 12 months to April.

"The research shows that not only is the United Kingdom still "open for business", it sends a clear message that all parts of the United Kingdom are sharing in and contributing to its role as a driver of global prosperity", Mr Bhargava said.

Across the United Kingdom, there are 690,000 people in the United Kingdom who are worth at least seven figures; this is the equivalent of 1 in every 67 adults being a millionaire. One in every 67 people in the United Kingdom is now worth at least seven figures but they are not all based in London.

An increase in entrepreneurs beyond the South East has also helped drive prosperity over the United Kingdom; in Machester, the turnover of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has increased by 15 per cent.

Eastern England hosts the largest proportion of the country's millionaires after the south east and London, at 13.2 per cent or 148,000.

Scotland now commands a 6.2% share of the UK's millionaires, down from 6.7% in 2015.

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