Eight billionaires have riches equivalent to the wealth of half the world,Oxfam research

Eight billionaires have riches equivalent to the wealth of half the world,Oxfam research

Berne, Jan 16:Eight billionaires have riches equivalent to the same wealth as half the world, campaigners have warned world leaders gathering for talks in Switzerland.

The research by Oxfam found that the gap between rich and poor was far greater than had been feared and called for an overhaul of a “warped” economy that allowed a small group to have more wealth than they could ever spend while one in nine people went hungry.

Theresa May and Philip Hammond will attend the World Economic Forum of global political and business leaders in Davos this week.The annual event, held in a luxury Swiss ski resort, is often criticised for being little more than a talking shop for the rich and powerful.

Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning our politicsMark Goldring, Oxfam

Oxfam is calling on international leaders to improve international cooperation to stop tax dodging, action to encourage companies to act for the benefit of staff as well as shareholders, wealth taxes to fund healthcare, education and job creation, and improvements in opportunities for women.

It also urged business chiefs to commit to paying a living wage and their fair share of tax.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before.

“It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity.

“While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it.

“The fact that a super-rich elite are able to prosper at the expense of the rest of us at home and overseas shows how warped our economy has become.

“Inequality is not only keeping millions of people trapped in poverty, it is fracturing our societies and poisoning our politics.

“It’s just not right that top executives take home massive bonuses while workers’ wages are stagnating or that multinationals and millionaires dodge taxes while public services are being cut.”

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