Wealth of Irish billionaires increased by €3.3bn during Covid-19 pandemic 8 months ago

Wealth of Irish billionaires increased by €3.3bn during Covid-19 pandemic

“In Ireland, the fallout of the pandemic on employment has disproportionately hit young adults as well as people in low-paid occupations, all of whom are more likely to be paying rent."

The wealth of Ireland's billionaires increased by €3.28 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report from Oxfam has claimed.

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The charity’s Inequality Virus Report found the wealth of the planet's 10 richest men has grown by half a trillion dollars since Covid-19 began and the 1,000 richest people in the world had recouped their Covid-19 losses within just nine months.

The report states it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1,000 billionaires to recover.

Oxfam said its report was supported by the work of 295 economists from 79 countries across the world and 87% had predicted an increase or major increase in inequality in their countries.

85% of Irish economists surveyed for the report agreed there would be an increase in inequality in Ireland, with the majority believing it would be the worst rise in inequality since the financial crash in 2008.

“We stand to witness the greatest rise in inequality since records began, with the deep divide between the rich and poor proving as deadly as the virus itself," Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, said.

"Around the world, the impact of Covid-19 is magnifying and exacerbating existing inequalities – as well as racial and gender divides. One of the most extreme and unjust indicators of inequality we are seeing around the world right now is between those who have access to life saving vaccine and those who don’t.

“Rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in safety, while those on the frontline— our shop assistants, healthcare workers, and factory workers — are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, and often do not have benefits such as paid sick leave.

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“The world’s 10 richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began —more than enough to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine for everyone and to ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work.

“In Ireland, the fallout of the pandemic on employment has disproportionately hit young adults as well as people in low-paid occupations, all of whom are more likely to be paying rent. Without significant government intervention, we are looking at a return to long-term unemployment, increasing risks of homelessness and economic insecurity for younger generations in Ireland."

The report can be read in full here.