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Our new tax regime will need safeguards

Our broken economies have created such extreme levels of inequality that just eight men own the same wealth as half the world's population. Meanwhile, one in nine people goes to bed hungry every night.

A broken global economic system favours the few and leaves too many others behind. Experts like the World Bank are warning that progress in reducing poverty is under threat because of extreme inequality.

Poor people in the developing world are fighting to get by with no clean water, no education and no medicine - all while big corporations dodge taxes.

We need our leaders to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the fortunate few.

The World Economic Forum is meeting in Davos with responsible leadership as its key theme. Oxfam is calling on them to start by tackling inequality. And with Northern Ireland set to take control of corporation tax in 2018, a post-election Stormont Executive must ensure any new proposed tax regime here is fair, open and transparent - and that it does not negatively impact on vulnerable people.

Reform of the corporate tax system must contain safeguards preventing corporations from taking advantage to avoid tax owed elsewhere.

Otherwise, there is a risk that Northern Ireland could be used as a tax haven that would contribute to this global inequality.

JIM CLARKEN

Chief executive, Oxfam Ireland

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