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Social Mobility

  • Gerard O’Donnell
Chapter
Part of the Macmillan Master Series book series (MACMMA)

Abstract

There has been a significant change in the proportion of privately owned wealth in the hands of the top one per cent of the population, but the proportionate change diminishes as one climbs down the ladder of wealth ownership (section 10.2).
Table 11.1

decline in the proportion of marketable wealth 1971–1980

The most wealthy 5% of the population had a 9% decline in wealth

The most wealthy 10% of the population had a 7% decline in wealth

The most wealthy 25% of the population had a 5% decline in wealth

The most wealthy 50% of the population had a 3% decline in wealth*

*Reduced to a 1% decline by 1984.

Attempts to redistribute wealth more evenly have only been partially successful because the very rich are able to protect their positions by employing skilled accountants and lawyers. For example, the Vestey family, whose interests include the Dewhurst butchery firm, have their wealth in the form of a family trust which provides the incomes and housing expenses of its members. In 1980 a political storm erupted over newspaper disclosures that the Dewhurst chain paid only £10 in tax on 1978 profits of £2.3 million.

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Copyright information

© Gerard O’Donnell 1988

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  • Gerard O’Donnell

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