Oxfam report reveals super-rich gains and gaping inequality

A quarter of all new wealth created in the UK since 2000 has gone to the top one per cent


In the last 15 years, national wealth has increased by four trillion pounds, over a trillion of which has been pocketed by the wealthiest 600,000 people, according to a new Oxfam report.

The poorest half of the population — about 30 million people — accounts for just seven per cent of the increase.

Ahead of Wednesday’s budget, Oxfam is calling on the Government to crack down on tax avoidance, to ensure more effective and equitable distribution of the country’s wealth.

Oxfam Chief Executive Mark Goldring commented:

“It’s time the Government ended the secrecy that allows tax dodgers to get away without paying their fair share, robbing the UK – and poor countries – of vital revenue that could help fund public services and provide a strong safety net for most vulnerable.”

To address the problem, Oxfam argues that UK-linked tax havens should be required to reveal the beneficiaries of shell companies housed there.

The secrecy surrounding tax havens currently ‘obscures the true extent of inequality’ reducing  awareness of the scale of the problem among both policy-makers and the public, and making resources seem scarcer than they are.

Oxfam has also called on the chancellor to tackle corporate tax dodging, by requiring multinationals to publicly report profits and taxes in every country where they operate, and by cooperating with European and other international partners to ensure the standard is achieved globally.

In particular, focused action is needed to protect the poorest countries, which suffer the most as a result of corporate tax dodging.

According to this morning’s FT, George Osborne will announce new measures to tackle corporate tax avoidance this week, following the bruising row over Google’s UK tax bill.

It’s believed he will propose a cut to tax relief on debt interest, among other measures.

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward

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