Richard Tonkin, Nathan Thomas
Household Income and Expenditure
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456082
Frequency of release: Annually
Geographical coverage: UK
Geographical breakdown: UK and GB
Survey name(s): Living Costs and Food Survey
Before taxes and benefits, the richest fifth of households had an average income of £81,500 in 2010/11, 16 times greater than the poorest fifth, who had an average income of £5,100.
Overall, taxes and benefits lead to income being shared more equally between households. After all taxes and benefits are taken into account, the ratio between the average incomes of the top and the bottom fifth households (£61,400 and £15,200 respectively) is reduced to four-to-one.
Cash benefits and direct taxes have the impact of redistributing income from richer households to those with lower incomes, thereby reducing income inequality. In contrast, indirect taxes such as VAT and duties on fuel and alcohol take a higher proportion of income from lower income households, and therefore increase income inequality.
On average, households in the top two income quintiles paid more in taxes than they received in benefits, while households in the bottom three quintiles received more in benefits than they paid in taxes.
There was a real terms decrease in disposable income between 2009/10 and 2010/11, with the largest fall being for the middle fifth of households.
The proportion of disposable income paid in indirect taxes increased across the income distribution in 2010/11 compared with the previous year. This is largely explained by the increases to the standard rate of VAT in 2010 and 2011.
These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.