Richest 26 people own same amount as half global population

Jeff Bezos could fund Ethiopa's health budget with 1 percent of his fortune, the report claimed

The world's richest 26 people own the same amount as half the global population, a shocking new report has revealed.

The startling gap between the rich and poor was highlighted in Oxfam's Public Good or Private Wealth? Study.

It showed that billionaires saw their wealth rocket by £700bn in 2018 while 3.8 billion people were forced to survive on less £4.27 a day each.

The world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, could fund Ethiopia’s health budget with 1 percent of his estimated £108.7billion fortune.

The increased fortunes of the wealthy is underlined by the fact in 2017 the world's richest 43 earned the same amount as the poorest half - it is now just 26.

In the UK the study added that the poorest 10 percent of people in Britain now pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than the richest 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the poorest 10 percent of people in Britain now pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than the richest 10 percent, the study added.

Matthew Spencer, Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, said: “The way our economies are organised means wealth is increasingly and unfairly concentrated among a few while millions are barely subsisting.”

Oxfam has urged governments to pump cash into public services and overhaul tax policy.

Recommendations include universal free healthcare, an end to “under-taxation” and policies to halt gender inequality.

The charity claims forcing the top 1 percent to pay an extra 0.5 percent tax would raise an estimated £324.6billion per year worldwide to achieve the aims.

Mr Spencer added: “Women are dying for lack of decent maternity care and children are being denied an education that could be their route out of poverty.

“No one should be condemned to an earlier grave or a life of illiteracy because they were born poor. There is enough wealth to give everyone a fair chance in life.

“Governments should ensure taxes raised from wealth and businesses paying their fair share are used to fund free, quality public services.”

Oxfam says governments are “exacerbating” inequality by failing to put enough cash into public services.

An estimated 10,000 die daily due to a lack of healthcare, while 262 million kids miss out on school.

Oxfam warns failing to tackle issues now will make it hard to hit a UN goal of ending extreme poverty – living on under 97p per day – by 2030.

Oxfam also wants measures to tackle the estimated 16.4 billion hours of unpaid care work done globally daily.

The report said: “Governments face a choice between a life of dignity for all citizens or continued extreme wealth for a tiny few.”

Criticising the report, Kate Andrews, associate director at the IoEA, said inequality and poverty are "wholly different issues" with "radically different antidotes".

She added: "Capitalism has the best track record for lifting people out of poverty. The past few decades alone have seen hundreds of millions of people benefit.

"Demonising capitalism might be a fashionable activity for the affluent but it would be a travesty, especially for the poor, if calls to overthrow it were allowed to succeed."

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