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Middle Classes Destroyed By Hpi. Who'd A Thunk It ?

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There's been an increase in wealthy households - thank God for trickle down wealth and Help to Buy !

How 30 years of a polarised economy have squeezed out the middle class

London has always been a city of extremes but the extent to which it has become polarised between rich and poor is laid bare in research that reveals a 43% decrease in middle-income households between 1980 and 2010.

England is increasingly divided between the rich and the poor, with a 60% increase in poor households and a 33% increase in wealthy households. This has come at a time – 1980 to 2010 – when the number of middle-income households went down by 27%.

But the trend is most marked in London, according to an analysis of census data by Benjamin Hennig and Danny Dorling of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Over the three decades, the capital has seen an 80% increase in poor households, an 80% increase in wealthy households – and a 43% decrease in middle households. Around 36% of London households are now classified as poor (up from 20% in 1980), while 37% are middle income (down from 65%).

The largest percentage point fall in households in the middle has been in Westminster, which saw its middle reduce from nearly three-quarters of all households to just one-third.

The largest percentage-point increase in wealthy households has been in Richmond-upon-Thames, where more than half of households are now wealthy, compared with a fifth in 1980. In contrast, in Newham, almost one in two households is now poor.

The researchers have drawn up maps of England according to wealth, described by Dorling as “fancy pie charts”. The polarising of wealth has been exacerbated in recent years, with economic growth having been slower than had been hoped, and wages in the middle failing to rise in parallel with the recovery.

The economic divide between the beneficiaries of the property bubble and non-homeowners also continues to widen in the country as a whole, with upward pressure on land values.

Dorling said: “This analysis shows that England is becoming more polarised, with an increase in households that are poor and those that are wealthy. The number of households in poverty has jumped by 60% since 1980, meaning that now almost three in 10 are poor.

“At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of wealthy households – 33% in England and 80% in London. This means households in the middle are disappearing, leaving an increasingly divided country and capital. As more households have become poorer, and more people are unable to buy a home or get a mortgage, a small but growing proportion of other households have become very rich.”

Tackling the gap between rich and poor has become a major political issue. Labour leader Ed Miliband has called for a policy of “pre-distribution” to try to narrow the gap between the best and worst paid, while politicians from across the spectrum, including the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, have praised the idea of employers promising to pay the living wage.

The decline of the middle class since the 1980s has been noted across the UK and Europe, as the number of well-paid, middle-skill jobs in manufacturing and clerical occupations has gone down and the relative earnings for workers around the median of the wage distribution has dropped.

Mubin Haq, director of policy and grants at the independent charity Trust for London, which funded the research, said the findings should alarm all the candidates hoping to win the London mayoral election in 2016.

He said: “While there are staggering levels of wealth in London, many are also on the breadline. Too often the headlines are about the capital being the playground for the super-rich, which masks the increasing poverty that many face. In 12 of the 33 boroughs in London, the poverty rate doubled from 1980 to 2010. The net result of the growth in poverty and wealth is a big reduction in households in the middle. This is worrying for those who want a capital city that accommodates all diversities. Often we think about this in relation to ethnicity, but income is hugely important, especially if we want a city that functions and is fair.

A significant factor is the cost of housing and our attitudes to property ownership in this country. To reverse these trends, we must build more genuinely affordable homes and make it more difficult for the wealthiest to buy up houses solely as an investment opportunity – a safe and affordable home is a basic human need that must be met.”

Dorling’s analysis of the housing market last month revealed average house prices in Oxford were more than 16 times the local average annual income compared with 15.7 times those in London.

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They have all the facts. Nothing is new to them.

What Labour and the Tories choose to do is because they choose to do it.

It seems there are NO REVELATIONS that will change their minds and alter their path

They'll only react to facts that the electorate engage with and crucially how they engage with them.

The key question you (should) ask yourself at some point after starting to tire of the usual excuses - particularly if you are middle-class (!) - is 'why aren't my wages related to house prices' and 'how is this reconciled with what I think I know about capitalism'?

Currently the political parties distract the issue into territory that suits them - either positively 'we must build more houses' or negatively, its the fault of the planners or Europe/Immigration or theres no more land etc. I'm afraid that may be as far as we get for Election 2015.

As for the stats and maps - correct me if I'm wrong but it does seem that their definition of 'wealthy' includes the value of property. You could therefore see them as maps

  • showing where the majority of the population are permanently excluded from having a stable home
  • of illusory wealth stoked and protected by politicians

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How do they define "poor', "middle", and "rich"? I glanced through the document, and clicked on a couple of the embedded links, but I couldn't find a definition.

I'm not saying I disagree with the conclusions, but I'm suspicious when a key definition isn't clearly defined up front.

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How do they define "poor', "middle", and "rich"? I glanced through the document, and clicked on a couple of the embedded links, but I couldn't find a definition.

I'm not saying I disagree with the conclusions, but I'm suspicious when a key definition isn't clearly defined up front.

It doesn't help that the phrase "middle class" has traditionally had different meanings in the UK and the USA, and at different points in time.

In the USA it means anyone who isn't poor or rich.

In the UK, historically, the "middling sort", "middling class", "middle class" (depending on era) started by meaning those who weren't wealthy but also weren't poor (so not e.g. subsistence farmers, servants, those working for a day wage or the totally indigent). It included farmers who owned their own land and employed others, people who ran shops and workshops, and people providing professional services. The definition often argued for on this forum, roughly "professionals, managers, and senior civil servants", is one from the early 20th century.

Given that people's understanding of the meaning varies, I think anyone who uses the phrase in any context, especially studies such as this one, should highlight their definition of it right at the start.

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Wonder how many of the poor are foreign born? (and I guess to be fair, super rich, too)

Take a look round Tower Hamlets and it looks like we've embarked upon simply 'importing poverty'. IIRC Frank Field used these very words once.

Given about 6 billion of the worlds population is poorer than the average brit, you're not going to solve it for a very long time unless you do something about the type of immigration we have.

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How do they define "poor', "middle", and "rich"? I glanced through the document, and clicked on a couple of the embedded links, but I couldn't find a definition.

I'm not saying I disagree with the conclusions, but I'm suspicious when a key definition isn't clearly defined up front.

Yes agreed, not the easiest background information to navigate - and the more you dig the more confusing it gets but anyway here's a start:

​All roads seem to lead to: poverty and wealth across britain - Enjoy!

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Wonder how many of the poor are foreign born? (and I guess to be fair, super rich, too)

Take a look round Tower Hamlets and it looks like we've embarked upon simply 'importing poverty'. IIRC Frank Field used these very words once.

Given about 6 billion of the worlds population is poorer than the average brit, you're not going to solve it for a very long time unless you do something about the type of immigration we have.

Ok, so that'll be the 'blame the foreigners' distraction, referred to above.

After 16,000 odd posts on here you must have come across some insightful analysis as to our current predicament ? Don't be shy !

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Ok, so that'll be the 'blame the foreigners' distraction, referred to above.

After 16,000 odd posts on here you must have come across some insightful analysis as to our current predicament ? Don't be shy !

Blame the politicians, we have imported people to keep the skittles in the air , a three pronged Ponzi...Health, Housing and State Pension...the beneficiaries the elderly.

should have just accepted we have equity and welfare benefits beyond our means to earn. A reset with no imported people would have been the desirable outcome, boomers excepted.

Edit. indeed we will now have to import three people for each imported person today to provide them with pension and health benefits in years to come. You can't just keep importing people to support a Ponzi scheme.

Edited by crashmonitor

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I thought, by definition, middle-class people had to eat at least one artisan cupcake a week; push an enormous baby buggy; get their non-cupcake nutrition from quinoa and spelt; and live near an aspirational lamp shop (but never go in, because no one does).

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Usual crap proposing as usual the wrong and most ineffective solutions.

It's not build more it's intervene less. #banbankbailouts #letmktsetrates #banHTB Sorted.

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Blame the politicians, we have imported people to keep the skittles in the air , a three pronged Ponzi...Health, Housing and State Pension...the beneficiaries the elderly.

should have just accepted we have equity and welfare benefits beyond our means to earn. A reset with no imported people would have been the desirable outcome, boomers excepted.

Edit. indeed we will now have to import three people for each imported person today to provide them with pension and health benefits in years to come. You can't just keep importing people to support a Ponzi scheme.

I blame the electorate and I started with me a decade ago.

Without the electorate getting a grip nothing will change. I guess this site is a start but certainly nothing will change if we smear this site with Ucrap.

Blaming 'Fatcher' is kind of another start, but it normally ends up being a cul-de-sac of political bias with no real questions coming out of it.

For example nobody really seems to look at what was going on before - what was going on with the 'petro-dollar' in the seventies ? And then of course what was the role of the banks leading up to the 2007/8 crisis ? What is going on with money supply ? What is all this CDO and CDS shit ? What has been done about it since ? For that matter why did Roosevelt feel he had to break up the banks ? What do we think is a 'free market' ? Why do we seem to end up with all these monopolies buying politicians - house-builders anyone ? What do we think of 'neoliberalism' ?

What happened to stable pensions ? How did the property obsession begin ? Why do we always seem to have vested interests wheeled in to comment on property in the media ? Why no first-time buyers at the 'First Time Buyer Summit ? Why is it the banks think risk dictates large deposits for property ? Why did the government ignore the bank asssement and step in putting the tax-payer on the hook ? How can the government introduce HTB while moaning about Housing Benefit ? Why are property prices divorcing from wages ? If House-building is the answer, why did they continue to do so even in Spain and Ireland where they were building like mad ?

What is crony capitalism ? What is 'rent-seeking' ? What did Adam Smith think about speculation ? What in fact did Winston Churchill think about property speculation and LVT ?

And so on.

Is the electorate fluent in and thrashing out the above ? No. Actually, if you think about it, with the obvious exceptions there have been many simple answers and then we've been encouraged to move on. I guess no wonder all we are left with is blaming politicians and 'furreners'.

EDIT: How can politicians build policy to get us out of this mess if we aren't conversant on the above ?

Edited by pig

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I blame the electorate and I started with me a decade ago.

Without the electorate getting a grip nothing will change. I guess this site is a start but certainly nothing will change if we smear this site with Ucrap.

Blaming 'Fatcher' is kind of another start, but it normally ends up being a cul-de-sac of political bias with no real questions coming out of it.

For example nobody really seems to look at what was going on before - what was going on with the 'petro-dollar' in the seventies ? And then of course what was the role of the banks leading up to the 2007/8 crisis ? What is going on with money supply ? What is all this CDO and CDS shit ? What has been done about it since ? For that matter why did Roosevelt feel he had to break up the banks ? What do we think is a 'free market' ? Why do we seem to end up with all these monopolies buying politicians - house-builders anyone ? What do we think of 'neoliberalism' ?

What happened to stable pensions ? How did the property obsession begin ? Why do we always seem to have vested interests wheeled in to comment on property in the media ? Why no first-time buyers at the 'First Time Buyer Summit ? Why is it the banks think risk dictates large deposits for property ? Why did the government ignore the bank asssement and step in putting the tax-payer on the hook ? How can the government introduce HTB while moaning about Housing Benefit ? Why are property prices divorcing from wages ? If House-building is the answer, why did they continue to do so even in Spain and Ireland where they were building like mad ?

What is crony capitalism ? What is 'rent-seeking' ? What did Adam Smith think about speculation ? What in fact did Winston Churchill think about property speculation and LVT ?

And so on.

Is the electorate fluent in and thrashing out the above ? No. Actually, if you think about it, with the obvious exceptions there have been many simple answers and then we've been encouraged to move on. I guess no wonder all we are left with is blaming politicians and 'furreners'.

Well indeed, I'm always sympathetic with the entitled electorate argument...and that's basically the 50+ that vote and set the agenda. State pension and health benefits in retirement that go far beyond contibutions and preservation of equity, which means artificially supporting high house prices. Meanwhile the young can go screw themselves.

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Well indeed, I'm always sympathetic with the entitled electorate argument...and that's basically the 50+ that vote and set the agenda. State pension and health benefits in retirement that go far beyond contibutions and preservation of equity, which means artificially supporting high house prices. Meanwhile the young can go screw themselves.

Or live in their parents house. That is what is changing at the moment and why newspapers and politician surgeries are clogging up with complaints.

And why the insistence on an 'Answer' and politicians diverting onto 'house-building' - convincing because its partly true and its a 'positive' gesture.

Which is funny because logically what we are simply saying is we want lower house-prices, just via a 'politically correct' method.

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Let's not worry about it as there will soon be a monstrous crash in asset prices and those of us who don't have very much at present will be the winners ie we will lose the least.

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Let's not worry about it as there will soon be a monstrous crash in asset prices and those of us who don't have very much at present will be the winners ie we will lose the least.

Sterling currency crisis

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Why no first-time buyers at the 'First Time Buyer Summit ?

For the same reason there are no poor people to be seen at the Davos discussions on wealth inequality- can't have the riff raff turning up and causing embarrassment to the VIPs. Also they might carry diseases or fleas from their sordid rented properties.

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Ok, so that'll be the 'blame the foreigners' distraction, referred to above.

After 16,000 odd posts on here you must have come across some insightful analysis as to our current predicament ? Don't be shy !

Sorry...didnt know I had to whittle it down to one single cause

The level and type of immigration is one problem. Im sure if you're bored enough to click through my previous posts you'll find comments on monetary policy etc.

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It doesn't help that the phrase "middle class" has traditionally had different meanings in the UK and the USA, and at different points in time.

In the USA it means anyone who isn't poor or rich.

In the UK, historically, the "middling sort", "middling class", "middle class" (depending on era) started by meaning those who weren't wealthy but also weren't poor (so not e.g. subsistence farmers, servants, those working for a day wage or the totally indigent). It included farmers who owned their own land and employed others, people who ran shops and workshops, and people providing professional services. The definition often argued for on this forum, roughly "professionals, managers, and senior civil servants", is one from the early 20th century.

Given that people's understanding of the meaning varies, I think anyone who uses the phrase in any context, especially studies such as this one, should highlight their definition of it right at the start.

Managers may have been middle class once. Before what i observe to be "manager inflation" - a phenomenon whereby ordinary workers get to be managers just by having worked at a place for more than 18 months. Hence we get to the point where most people at any given workplace are "managers". You end up with no clear management usually as they are all still the same workers despite the job title inflation.

Edited by jammo

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How do they define "poor', "middle", and "rich"? I glanced through the document, and clicked on a couple of the embedded links, but I couldn't find a definition.

I'm not saying I disagree with the conclusions, but I'm suspicious when a key definition isn't clearly defined up front.

Rich: own your house.

Rich-by-proxy: get taxpayer-funded housing.

Middle: pay taxes (at standard, higher or top rate), aspire to one of the above.

Poor: off the bottom of the system, with few resources and without benefits.

Don't tell me they use some other definition?

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Managers may have been middle class once. Before what i observe to be "manager inflation" - a phenomenon whereby ordinary workers get to be managers just by having worked at a place for more than 18 months. Hence we get to the point where most people at any given workplace are "managers". You end up with no clear management usually as they are all still the same workers despite the job title inflation.

A bit like being 'degree' educated these days. Everyone is the best. Everyone wins a prize.

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I think those discussions centred on the risks to their safety.

I mean that. The whole topic of 'inequality' was boiled down to the risks to their positions and safety.

Good point- having stolen everything they now worry that people are beginning to notice.

I saw an interesting thing during the occupy protests in New York- they had this protester do an interview from the street on bloomberg- when he came on he said 'I guess I'm the first working class guy to ever be on your network' No one disagreed with him but their faces were a picture- he was right of course.

It seemed important at the time- less so now. But I suspect something like occupy will come back as soon as the shite hits the fan again and 'austerity' turns into something a whole lot more vicious.

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Well it used to be like this:

Middle-class: Well brought up through a clear path through academia, rewarded with house marriage and kids. The bedrock of society,

Poor: not smart enough or too lazy to afford a house, sometimes irresponsible and condemning children to a vicious circle of decline. A drain on society

Now its like this:

Middle-class: "Its not fair, its not right, this is damaging society the government should step in"

Poor: "Yeah right'

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