London - The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed. Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said.
Oxfam said its figures - which critics have queried - showed a failing system. It blamed tax evasion, firms' influence on policy, erosion of workers' rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap.
Oxfam has produced similar reports for the past five years. In 2017 it calculated that the world's eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world.
This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year's figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of "widening inequality" remained.
Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring said its constant readjustment of the figures reflected the fact that the report was based "on the best data available at the time". "However you look at it, this is an unacceptable level of inequality," he said.
Oxfam's report coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a Swiss ski resort. The annual conference attracts many of the world's top political and business leaders.
Inequality typically features high on the agenda, but Mr Goldring said that too often "tough talk fades away at the first resistance".(FA)