Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm


#Inequality: India-born Reuben Bros, Hindujas among FIVE families wealthier than Britain's 13 MILLION poorest

The London-based Hinduja brothers have been named in a list of the five wealthiest families who now control more riches than the poorest 20% of Britain's population.

The list, compiled by the development charity Oxfam, showed that the families were worth a combined £28.2 billion, more than then £28.1 billion in assets held by the 12.6 million people considered the poorest in the UK.

The charity said the findings were clear evidence that the government should impose a "wealth tax" as well as be more proactive with tax avoidance.

The Hindujas comprise of the London-based Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja as well as India-based Ashok and Prakash Hinduja, who oversees the Hinduja Bank in tax-friendly Geneva.

Together the brothers - placed third on the list - are worth a staggering £6 billion, derived from the sprawling Hinduja Group conglomerate which controls everything from truck-maker Ashok Leyland to the IndusInd Bank. 

That's apart from the £500 million family home on Carlton Terrace in the heart of Central London.

Another set of London-based brothers with roots in India - Simon and David Reuben were born in Mumbai to Jewish parents of Iranian descent - are in second place with nearly £7 billion in assets, including one of the world's largest data-centre operators and a slew of office properties in London.

The list is led by the Grosvenor Family who control a combined fortune of £7.9 billion, including nearly 200 acres of prime real estate in Central London.

The list is rounded off by the Cadogan Family and Mike Ashley, the man behind Sports Direct.

Oxfam's director of campaigns and policy, Ben Phillips, said: "Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, while millions of families are struggling to make ends meet.

"It's deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline."

According to Oxfam, Britain's richest are getting richer because of their ability to get their hands on the proceeds of not only growth but economic downturns as well: the Reuben brothers are famed for snapping up undervalued assets at the height of the 2008 recession. 

Since the mid-1990s, the incomes of the top 0.1% have grown by £461 a week or £24,000 a year compared with just £147 (£2.82 per week) a year for the bottom 90% of the population. 



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