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Danny McCance 21 Jan 2019 02:25pm

World’s richest see wealth increase 12%

Last year billionaires’ around the world saw their fortunes grow by 12% while the poorest half of the world’s population saw theirs drop by 11%

The number of billionaires around the world has nearly doubled since the financial crash – from 1,125 in 2008 to 2,208 last year, according to global charity Oxfam.

The collective wealth of these individuals rose by $900bn (£700.8bn) – or just under $2.5bn a day – between March 2017 and 2018.

Meanwhile, the world’s poorest 3.4 billion people survived on less than $5.50 (£4.28) a day last year.

“The size of your bank account should not dictate how many years your children spend in school, or how long you live – yet this is the reality in too many countries across the globe,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International.

“While corporations and the super-rich enjoy low tax bills, millions of girls are denied a decent education and women are dying for lack of maternity care.”

The research found that men earn 50% more of the total wealth than women, while an example from the US found that single white men own 100 times more wealth than single Hispanic women.

Wealth is becoming more concentrated, as the number of people who possess the same wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people – or half of the global population – dropped to 26 last year, from 43 the year before.

Hidden wealth is a significant contributing factor. According to the report the super rich were hiding $7.6trn (£5.9trn) from tax authorities offshore, which alongside offshore funds from big corporations was depriving developing countries of as much as $170bn (£132bn) a year.

In February, HMRC confirmed that it was expecting to receive an extra £100m in additional taxes after investigating 66 individuals in relation to tax evasion following revelations from the 13.4 million files exposed during the Paradise Papers investigations.

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