Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called for major tax reform to bridge the expanding global wealth gap.
The Ireland South MEP was speaking following the release of Oxfam’s “Public Good or Private Wealth?” report, which showed the top 26 richest people on the planet own as much wealth as the bottom 3.8 billion.
“The figures for 2018 are truly sobering,” she said.
“The wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by $900 billion last year, that’s $2.5 billion a day, while the wealth of the world’s poorest people fell by almost the same amount.
“Put another way, the fortunes of billionaires increased by 12% a day in 2018, while the 3.8 billion poorest people on the planet saw their wealth decline by 11% a day. That is just short of half of all of humanity.
“We are now at the point where 26 people own as much wealth as the bottom 3.8 billion. This is not sustainable and we should not tolerate it.
“I particularly commend Oxfam for clearly recognizing that this is morally unacceptable and not shying away from strongly condemning this situation and making clear recommendations.
“Oxfam rightly call for the end of the under-taxation of rich individuals and corporations. Only 4 percent of global tax revenue comes from taxing wealth.
“This has been achieved in two ways, unprecedented tax avoidance and evasion, and decades of decreasing tax rates. Neo-liberal economic policies have been fueling inequality since the 80s.
“I fully support Oxfam’s call to have wealth and capital taxed at fairer levels. This can only be achieved through international solidarity and cooperation in order to avoid a race to the bottom on tax rates for corporations and top earners.
“We must also shut down tax havens and eliminate tax evasion by corporations and the super rich.
“Only through radical reform of the global tax system can we hope to tackle spiraling inequality.”