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Research Summary

LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance has carried out a number of research projects on inequality in the UK with key findings including:

  • Three quarters of people in the UK think inequality is too high.
  • The richest 1% of households in the UK earns around 150 times more than the poorest 1% of households.
  • The top 1% of households own 13% of the country’s wealth.
  • There is greater inequality in wealth than in incomes.
  • The difference between richest and poorest in the UK is getting larger.
  • Social mobility – the ability of people to move up the social ladder – is getting harder; a child born in 1970 has much less chance of ending up as a top earner than a child born in 1958.

To publicise the research, the Centre has recently published a short film detailing their findings. The film shows what people think is the difference between rich and poor in the UK and what they believe it should be. The film then shows actual inequality, both in income and wealth, before going on to consider how inequality and social mobility have changed since the 1950s.

Broader implications of the research:

The need for government policies that strengthen social mobility by providing equal opportunities – facilitating economic growth and increased productivity.

Developed from CEP research

The film was produced for CEP by Econ Films. It draws on primary CEP research, as well as data from the Office for National Statistics, British Household Survey and research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The video can be viewed directly on YouTube ( and via a channel on the CEP website ( There also exists a filmed interview with Prof John Van Reenen explaining why inequality in the UK has been rising and why the film ‘Inequality in the UK’ was made (

We think encapsulating the message of both films with data visualisation would enable a new viewer to immediately identify the issue of falling social mobility and its effect on their own life.