A group of millionaires has joined protests against a meeting of business and political elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, demanding that governments “tax us now” to tackle the growing gap between rich and poor.
Less likely protesters, who describe themselves as “patriotic millionaires”, called on world leaders attending Sunday’s annual conference to immediately impose new taxes on the rich to tackle the “cost of living scandal that is taking place in several countries around the world “. .
The charity Oxfam recently said that rising inequality could push 263 million more people into extreme poverty in 2022, turning decades of progress.
Phil White, a former business consultant and member of the Patriotic Millionaires UK, said: “While the rest of the world is collapsing under the weight of the economic crisis, billionaires and world leaders are meeting in this private complex to discuss turning points in history.
“It is outrageous that our political leaders are listening to those who have the most, know the least about the economic effects of this crisis and many of them are paying infamously little taxes. The only credible result of this conference is to tax the richest and tax us now. Tax delegates attending Davos 2022.
The protest comes when it was revealed that there are now a record 177 billionaires in the UK with a total fortune of £ 653 billion.
At the same time, more than 250,000 households in the UK are expected to slip into poverty next year due to rising food and energy bills. According to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), the total number of extreme poverty would rise to around 1.2 million unless the government takes action to help the poorest families affected by high energy prices.
Marlene Engelhorn, another “patriotic millionaire” at the protest, said the only solution to “great inequality” is to demand that governments “tax me, tax the rich”.
Engelhorn, heir to the founders of the chemical company BASF, who co-founded the #taxmenow initiative, said: “As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth all my life, I know how distorted our economy is and I can’t keep sitting and waiting for someone somewhere do. I think we have no choice but to take action.
“Our governments continue to do nothing to address the great inequality and instead meet behind closed doors in this spectacle of private wealth. We have reached the end of the line when another quarter of a billion people will be pushed into extreme poverty this year. It is time to rebalance the world. It’s time to tax the rich. “
The theme of this year’s WEF meeting in Davos – the first personal meeting in more than two years due to a pandemic – is “working together, restoring trust”.
Djaffar Shalchi, a Danish multimillionaire, engineer and real estate developer, said: “Don’t gain people’s trust with events like Davos, where the world’s rich and powerful meet behind layers of security. The most important thing Davos participants could do to actually gain people’s trust is to recognize that the wealth and privilege they represent and protect is incompatible with a world where everyone can live a full and prosperous life.
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