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Richest 1% in the UK now wealthier than 70% of the population combined, Oxfam finds

THE gap between rich and poor is getting “ever wider,” Labour MP Diane Abbott has warned, as research shows the richest 1 per cent of Brits are now wealthier than 70 per cent of the population.

Oxfam’s study shows that the 685,500 richest people in Britain are worth a total of £2.8 trillion, compared with 48 million people whose combined wealth totals £2.4tn.

The charity’s report — Survival of The Richest — highlights widening global inequality after extreme poverty and extreme wealth both increased over the past two years. 

Former shadow home secretary Ms Abbott told the Morning Star: “Britain is becoming a society where the rich get richer and the divide between rich and poor gets ever wider. But the government is insisting that public-sector workers like nurses take a real-terms pay cut.”

During 2021 and 2022, the richest 1 per cent accrued nearly twice as much “new wealth” as the rest of the world combined, pocketing a whopping £21tn, Oxfam said today.

At the same time, soaring inflation forced real-terms pay cuts on 1.7 billion workers and more than 820m people – about one in 10 of the planet’s population – are going hungry. 

Oxfam demanded a wealth tax of up to 5 per cent on the super-rich to raise £1.4tn each year and lift two billion people out of poverty.

The charity’s Danny Sriskandarajah slammed governments for failing to tackle yawning wealth disparities, saying it is “an affront to basic human values.

“Multiple crises have pushed millions to the brink while our leaders fail to grasp the nettle – governments must stop acting for the vested interests of the few.

“How can we accept a system where the poorest people in many countries pay much higher tax rates than the super-rich?

“A flour seller Oxfam works with in Uganda pays 40 per cent tax each month, while some billionaires’ true tax rates have been as low as 3 per cent.”

The organisation also found that 95 food and energy corporations more than doubled their profits last year, making £251bn in windfall profits, which mostly ended up in the pockets of shareholders. 

Excess corporation profits have driven at least half of sky-rocketing inflation in Britain, Australia and the US, it added.

Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden told the Morning Star that the figures show a "class war is being waged by the super rich against the rest of us.

"A tiny elite caste is enriching itself at the price of grinding poverty and worsening climate disaster across the world.

"The main vehicle for this war is the transnational corporation. Gigantic monopolies have monopolised the tools we need to live a dignified life.

"We need to tear down these corporate leviathans, tax their shareholders, break up some monopolies and bring others into public ownership. The Davos set would like to convince you we need to work in partnership to end this grotesque exploitation.

"But you can't have a partnership with those waging war on you - we need to stop them."

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