The 26 richest people on earth have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population, a sickening new report has found.
The Oxfam report, published before the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, showed that the world’s billionaires saw their combined riches grow by around £2bn a day last year.
The richest man in the world, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, increased his fortune to more than £100bn last year, the report said.
Just 1 per cent of Bezos’ wealth is the equivalent to Ethiopia’s entire health budget for the country’s 105m people.
Meanwhile the combined wealth of the 3.8bn poorest people on the planet shrank by 11 per cent during 2018.
Oxfam warned that the growing divide between the richest and the poorest was harming attempts to fight poverty, hurting economies and driving public anger.
Oxfam’s executive director, Winnie Byanyima, said, “People across the globe are angry and frustrated.”
According to the report, the poorest half of the world’s population gained just 12 cents on every dollar of global income growth between 1980 and 2016, while the top 1 per cent snatched 27 cents.
The underfunding of public services such as education and healthcare by governments across the globe is making inequality worse, the charity warned, even as the very wealthy remain undertaxed.
Commenting on rising inequality both here and abroad, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “There’s no wonder anger and unrest at the current system have been growing across the globe.
“Not only is the level of inequality staggeringly unfair, it threatens stability across the world and undermines any sense of justice and belief in political institutions.”
Turner said the UK government cannot pretend that the “rapaciousness of the one per cent” is a problem that only affects poorer countries.
“Poverty, including growing in-work poverty, unsustainable debt and homelessness are rising rapidly here in Britain as well, thanks to the efforts of the Tories to create an economy to serve the interests of the richest few. As in many other nations, the people of Britain are looking for change,” Turner said.
“Fortunately, a reinvigorated Labour Party is offering an alternative that does not look to divide communities or seek scapegoats – a danger that has been realised through the rise of far-right political movements in the US and here in Europe– but will instead build a fair economy and just society that works for everyone