It’s not often that investment banks point out just how jarring the wealth gap is between the rich and the poor in Britain, but Credit Suisse did that this week in a set of stats on income and spending among UK consumers.
People who live in the South East have on average about £600 in discretionary money to spend per week, 42% more than those living in the North East, who spend just over £420, according to Credit Suisse analyst Amlan Roy and his team.
That stat — culled from the ONS — was illustrated in a set of charts talking about the way population changes are going to screw up the UK economy unless we let in more immigrants. We can’t pay our future pension and healthcare costs unless we let in a whole load of young, productive workers, is one take-away from Roy’s note.
In the North East, they’re even less able to pay for something today, this chart suggests:
“The disparities in income across regions within the UK also carry over to their differences in weekly household expenditure spending, the highest expenditures in London and the South East of UK in stark contrast with the lowest expenditures in the North East,” Roy writes.
If you look at the far right of the above chart, you’ll notice that there are basically two Britains, from an economic perspective: the London/South East city state, where people have around £600 per week in discretionary spending.
And everywhere else, which has £520 or less.
Here is how those disparities look in terms of income:
Gross income is nearly £900 per week in London and the South. It’s only about £500 in the North. (So, next time you hear someone from London complaining about how expensive it is to live down there, bear in mind that they also have a lot more money to play with.)
It is not a coincidence that the country’s voting habits loosely match those income patterns. This graphic from The Guardian shows the Conservatives power base is in the South East, whereas the Opposition Labour and SNP parties are in the North, where the poor are.
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