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Wealthy Britons Get Rich Faster Than the Poor


Christmas shoppers walk past a sale sign in the window of a shop in Oxford Street in London, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.

Christmas shoppers walk past a sale sign in the window of a shop in Oxford Street in London, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.


The British government reports that the country’s richest people are increasing their wealth three times as fast as the poorest.

The report is adding to worries about inequality in Britain.

The Office of National Statistics says the wealth of the richest 10 percent of British households increased by 21 percent between 2012 and 2014. It says much of the increase came from a rise in private retirement payments, called pensions. The wealth of the lowest half of all households increased by just seven percent during the same time.

The report said the country’s total household wealth increased 18 percent to $16.6 trillion.

The richest 10 percent of households control about 45 percent of all of the country’s wealth. The poorest 10 percent control less than one percent.

The Conservative Party of Prime Minister David Cameron notes that the country has record levels of employment. And it says Britain’s economic growth is the fastest among developed economies. It says that shows living standards are improving across the country.

But opposition parties say the country’s poorest people are suffering from the government’s plan to end the deficit by making large cuts to social welfare programs.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Reuters reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

household – n. the people in a family or other group who are living together in one house

living standards – n. the amount of wealth, comfort, and possessions that a person or group has

social welfare – expression government programs for poor or unemployed people that help pay for their food, housing, medical costs, etc.

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