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A new billionaire is created every two days, says Oxfam report

The richest 1% of the global population accumulated 82% of the wealth generated last year while the poorest half saw no increase in prosperity, according to figures published by Oxfam.

It said the figures showed there was something “very wrong” with the world economy, though critics said the report was a misrepresentation.

The charity said that out of a $9.2tn (£7.3tn) increase in global wealth from July 2016 to June 2017, around $7.6tn (£6tn) went to 75 million people, while the poorest 3.7 billion saw no increase.

That helped create one billionaire every two days according to the Reward Work, Not Wealth report published as global political and business leaders gather for the annual World Economic Forum at Swiss ski resort Davos.

Oxfam GB chief executive Mark Goldring said: “The concentration of extreme wealth at the top is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a system that is failing the millions of hard-working people on poverty wages who make our clothes and grow our food.”

He said better pay and conditions and equality for women were essential in ensuring work was a “genuine route out of poverty” and also called for a crackdown on tax avoidance.

Free market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute criticised the report.

Sam Dumitriu, its head of research, said it gave “the wrong picture” and that in reality, global inequality had “fallen massively over the past few decades”.

“Oxfam’s mistake is to see wealth as a fixed pie. More wealth for Zuckerberg and Bezos does not mean less wealth for you or me.

“In fact it’s the opposite, in a free market individuals can only amass wealth by fulfilling the wants and needs of others. Work and trade does pay out for everyone involved.”

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