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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
What is Britain worth?
Piles of money, calculator
Britain's estimated net wealth has risen by 81% since 1995
You may know exactly how much you have in the bank - but have you ever wondered how much the whole country is worth?

The answer, according to a new study by the Office for National Statistics, is 5,000bn or five trillion pounds.

That is the value of Britain at current market prices - all the buildings, bridges, factories, cars, even the food stacked on supermarket shelves.

And if you split it up evenly, every man, woman and child in the country would have 84,200.

Valuable assets

Britain's estimated net wealth has risen by 81% since 1995, due largely to our passion for home ownership.

Eight years ago British homes were worth an estimated 1,200bn, equivalent to 43% of the country's capital.

But by the end of 2002, the statisticians estimate, they were worth 2,744bn - or 55% of UK wealth - at market value.

The country's next most valuable assets, commercial and public buildings, are worth a mere 565bn, according to the study.

Negative value

That is still three times as much as all the shares in Microsoft or General Electric, the world's most valuable stock market companies.

Infrastructure, including roads, railways and pipelines, comes next at an estimated 537bn.

However, central government, with all its debts and responsibilities, is thought to have a negative value of minus 124bn.

ETrade Securities head of research Martin Evans told BBC News the study "shows how important house prices and house ownership is in the UK".

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