Monday, August 23 2004

There are now 425,000 millionaires in the UK, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has estimated. The figure has jumped from the last official estimate of around 230,000 made by the Inland Revenue in 2001.

According to CEBR, the 64% jump in the price of the average house since 2001 has pushed the number of millionaires up substantially, as they have enjoyed increasing overall housing wealth.

The research shows that 175,000 or 41% of these millionaires live in London. A further 90,000 live in the rest of the South East. Other millionaire-rich regions include the southwest, where there are 32,000 millionaires, and the East, where there are 29,000. The areas with the fewest millionaires are Northern Ireland, with 4000, and the North East of England, with 7000.

However, the news may have tax implications, especially considering the latest proposals from the Institute for Public Policy Research, which has suggested a 50% estate duty rate on estates over £763,000.

Douglas McWilliams of the CEBR said: ?What this means is that [the duty] will mainly affect London and the South of England. Whether this is ?fair? depends on one?s point of view, but it is worth noting that now, with mortgage interest relief abolished and high rates of stamp duty for housing transactions, the tax position for home owners is already very much less advantageous than it was a decade ago.?

CEBR