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Corporations cashing in on Covid-19 are set to make billions in profits as poverty soars, Oxfam warns

CORPORATIONS cashing in on Covid-19 are set to make tens of billions more in profits this year while millions of people fall into poverty worldwide, Oxfam has revealed.

According to a new report by the charity today, 32 of the world’s largest companies stand to see their profits jump by $109 billion (£80bn) more in 2020 than the average over the past four years.

A tax on these “pandemic profits” could provide every person on the planet with a Covid test and vaccine, Oxfam claims.

The charity also warned that the virus has exacerbated existing inequalities with companies putting profits and payouts to shareholders before jobs and workers’ safety. 

Globally, half a billion people are expected to be pushed into poverty by the economic impact of the virus while 400 million jobs have already been lost. 

Oxfam found that these 32 pandemic profiteers, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Nestle and Facebook, are expected to distribute 88 per cent of their excess profits to shareholders. 

Amazon, which has had one of the most successful Covid cash-ins, reported a 95 per cent boost in net profits during the financial year 2020 compared to previous years as people scrambled to order necessities during lockdown. 

This drastically increased the wealth of Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, whose personal wealth has now swelled to $200bn (£153bn).

Oxfam calculated that Mr Bezos would be able to personally pay each of Amazon’s 876,000 employees a one-time $105,000 (£80,000) bonus today and still be as wealthy as he was at the beginning of the pandemic.

Oxfam GB chief executive Danny Sriskandarajah said: “This pandemic has exposed the sickness at the heart of the global economy, with companies prioritising profits over people.

“It is barely believable that, in the middle of a pandemic, scarce resources are going overwhelmingly to the already super-wealthy. 

“The consequences are deadly serious for hundreds of millions of people who are hurting as their jobs disappear, their hours are cut, or their employers fail to put in place basic safety precautions.”

The charity is calling on the British government to establish a Covid-19 Pandemic Profits Tax to ensure “shared sacrifice,” and the redeployment of resources away from the super-wealthy to those bearing the brunt of the crisis. 

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