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Divide between rich and poor will grow post-coronavirus, warns Oxfam study

The world's ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by over £400-billion.

The world’s richest people recouped their pandemic losses within just nine months according to research by Oxfam.

The Oxford-based charity added that it would take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, according to their Inequality Virus report.

A survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87% of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an “increase” or a “major increase” in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.

Oxfam’s report said it shows how current economic systems have allowed the wealthiest “to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression while billions of people are struggling to make ends meet”.

The charity also said its research - released on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda - demonstrated the manner in which the pandemic was deepening long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.

Oxfam’s executive director Gabriela Bucher said the divide between rich and poor was “proving as deadly as the virus”.

“Rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in luxury, while those on the frontline of the pandemic – shop assistants, healthcare workers, and market vendors – are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table,” she said.

“Women and marginalised racial and ethnic groups are bearing the brunt of this crisis. They are more likely to be pushed into poverty, more likely to go hungry, and more likely to be excluded from healthcare.”

The six-day virtual Davos summit will feature Indian and Chinese leaders Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping.

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