The the UK’s net wealth has risen to a staggering £8.8 trillion, or £135,000 per head of population. But there is something broken in the UK and the data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) tells that story.
Down in the belly of this beast of a report from the ONS the problem was revealed.
Dwellings are worth £5.5 trillion, so that’s the lion’s share of the total.
Other buildings and structures, which include warehouses, railways, bridges and stadiums, are worth a tad over £2 trillion. Machinery, equipment and weapons systems are worth £471 billion and that’s it for non financial assets.
Financial assets consist of equity and investment funds (worth £115 billion and down 50% over the last year), financial derivatives and employee share options (worth minus – yes minus – £11 billion), and loans minus £29 billion.
If the UK wants to be a truly dynamic wealth creating economy, the balance needs to shift totally, from dwellings to share options. The government should tax property, and most certainly land, up to the hilt and introduce massive tax incentives for share options. For too long people have been thinking that the way to make money is to sit on property rather than create real wealth. And it is stifling creativity.
Comparing the UK with the rest of the G7, the UK had the highest level of fixed assets per person, Japan the lowest.
But for financial net worth, remember that’s the bit that includes share options, Japan is number one, the UK and Italy sit in bottom place.
In short, the UK is too reliant on assets growing in value via the magic of home ownership, leveraged off record low interest rates, and relies far too little on people working hard and smart.