Oxfam calls for action on poverty gap during World Economic Forum

Man walking in street

A new report by the charity Oxfam shows that 42 people own as much wealth as poorer half of the world. Last year, the figure was 61 people owning the same amount of wealth, whereas in 2009 the number was 380.

Two-thirds of the 70,000 people surveyed by Oxfam want their government to deal with the income gap between the super-rich and the poor in their country by tackling tax evasion.

The report highlights companies’ excessive influences on policy making, erosion of workers’ rights and the focus on the promotion of profit.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, said:

“For work to be a genuine route out of poverty we need to ensure that ordinary workers receive a living wage and can insist on decent conditions, and that women are not discriminated against. If that means less for the already wealthy then that is a price that we – and they – should be willing to pay.”

To deal with the widening gap, Oxfam calls companies to take action to let priority shareholder returns to basic social services such as schools and hospitals.

Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute of Economic Affairs, criticised the report, saying “Higher minimum wages would also likely lead to disappearing jobs, harming the very people Oxfam intend to help.”

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