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The eight richest people on the planet are worth more than the combined wealth of half the world’s population.

An analysis by Oxfam finds the eight multibillionaires – who could share a ride on a golf buggy – have a combined fortune of $426billion (£351billion).

By contrast half the planet’s population, some 3.6billion people, have a combined wealth of $409billion (£337billion).

Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive, said: “This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before.

“It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity. “

The figures are published ahead of the gathering of the business and political elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.

The key theme of the gathering, which Theresa May is attending, is responsive and responsible leadership.

Oxfam said its report “An Economy for the 99%” showed the gap between rich and poor “ is far greater than had been feared.”

Bill-Gates

It said the concentration of wealth at the top was holding back the fight to end global poverty and said business were increasingly focused on delivering “ever-higher returns to wealthy owners and top executives.”

“Companies are structured to dodge taxes, drive down workers’ wages and squeeze producers instead of fairly contributing to an economy that benefits everyone,” the charity said.

The report found that between 1988 and 2011 the incomes of the poorest 10% increased by just $65, while the incomes of the richest 1% grew by $11,800 – 182 times as much.

A separate analysis by the Equality Trust found the richest 100 families in Britain have seen their combined wealth increase by at least £55.5billion since 2010 – an average increase in wealth of £653million each.

By contrast, average household income has increased by just £4 per week since 2010.