What the ONS tells us about Piketty

The Office of National Statistics is publishing its latest slew of data on the UK wealth distribution on Thursday, This gives us an opportunity to explore whether the Piketty thesis – that wealth must increasingly concentrate amongst a few – is correct. All is not however as it seems. Research for the Smith Institute suggests that there is an important yet much overlooked cohort of people who own their own homes but have low incomes. Four million households in Britain, to be precise, or a sixth of the total, and by no means all of them are pensioners.  Insofar as these four million do not need to earn much money because they have no housing costs, it could be argued they are the real winners in the wealth distribution. See my Tooley Street Research blog for more

It’s the assets, stupid

We should dust off the asset-based welfare textbook, learning the lessons of child trust funds, the Savings Gateway and individual learning accounts, to use the power of time to enable the most vulnerable to take control of their own personal balance sheets. And, at the real bottom end of the pile, for those with negative assets (debts) we should use the concept of household solvency – not simply interest rates – to determine how easy credit should be regulated. – See more at: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2014/04/09/its-the-assets-stupid/#sthash.SbzFCnm9.dpuf