Newstalk
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10.44 14 Mar 2016


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Britain's wealthiest 1% took over a quarter of new wealth created in the nation since 2000, a new Oxfam report has found.

The elite millionaires club got its hands on 26% of the £4 trillion increase in the UK's national wealth as inequality continues to grow.

Meanwhile, the 30 million people who make up the UK's poorest 50% saw a gain of a mere 7p on the every pound of new wealth; the one-percenters earned 26p.

The report, published ahead of Wednesday's UK Budget and entitled Ending the Era of Tax Havens, hits out at rich individuals and companies who fail to contribute their fair share as their wealth rises. Oxfam is calling for structural changes to level the playing field.

The report noted that tax havens such as those found in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands were depriving the British Treasury of approximately £5 billion a year.

Looking at the global picture, governments are losing £120 billion annually thanks to well-to-do tax-dodgers.

At the other end of the scale, one in five people in the UK are struggling to feed their families and heat their homes.

More than one million emergency food parcels were distributed in the last year alone.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam Chief Executive, said: "Currently, a privileged minority are able to hide billions offshore away from tax authorities, which unfairly increases the burden on the rest – especially people who are already struggling to get by.

"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.

"It's simply not right that a tiny group of individuals hoovers up so much of the UK's growing prosperity while barely any trickles down to those who have least.

"We need action to ensure that a rise in wealth is more evenly shared in order to combat poverty and ensure everyone gets a fair share".


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