New research showing that the six richest people in the UK control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million has prompted anger online, with the authors of the study branding the massive gap in fortunes as “dangerous.”

The study, conducted by the Equality Trust, reveals that the nation’s six billionaires who sit at the top of the wealth league have hoarded a combined fortune of £39.4 billion which is equal to the assets of around 13.2 million people in the UK.

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Dr Wanda Wyporska, the executive director of the Equality Trust claimed the report should “shock anyone who cares about the state of the UK,” and that such a huge gap between the very rich and the rest of the country is “dangerous.”

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Some of those super rich include Indian brothers Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja who own a multitude of businesses including car firms and banks, and top the table with an estimated net worth of £12.8bn. Second on the list is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the chemicals company Ineos, who has amassed £9.2bn.

At the other end of the scale, the Equality Trust estimate that some 4m people in the UK live in poverty. Four million of these are said to be over 50 percent below the poverty line.

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The study has provoked impassioned responses on social media with many condemning the vast wealth inequality gap between a small collection of well-off families and the large number of the poorest in UK society.

One person tweeted that “It’s disgusting… Enterprise and wealth shouldn’t leave such a wretched underclass. It shames us all.” While another suggested that individuals that hoard such “absurd wealth while millions struggle, starve and die in poverty,” should be treated as criminals.

The issue of inequality has become a key battleground for the two main UK political parties during this year’s general election campaign. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised that a government led by him would go after the super-rich who exploit a “rigged system” to benefit themselves at the expense of the many.

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