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19 Jan 2015 11:56am

Oxfam warns over wealth inequality

The combined wealth of the richest 1% will overtake that of the rest of the world by 2016, Oxfam has warned today

The warning, which comes ahead of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos this week, also coincides with a new tax plan, proposed by US president Barack Obama, which will see increased fees imposed on the richest in US society.

Obama’s tax proposals, announced in his State of the Union address proposed closing multibillion dollar loopholes used by the wealithest Americans. Under new plans, a fee will also be imposed on big financial firms, and the revenue will be used to offer tax breaks to America’s squeezed middle class.

Oxfam today published a paper warning that the richest 1% will have seen their share of global wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, rising to more than 50% in 2016.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said that world leaders need to take charge on addressing gorwing wealth inequality.

She said, "In the past 12 months we have seen world leaders from President Obama to Christine Lagarde talk more about tackling extreme inequality but we are still waiting for many of them to walk the walk. It is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

"Business as usual for the elite isn't a cost free option - failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back decades. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality - they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around."

Ellie Clayton

 

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