Eight of the world's richest individuals own as much wealth as the world's poorest 3.6 billion people, an Oxfam report has revealed as top executives, financiers, politicians and the super-rich gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting.

The gap between the rich and the poor was branded "obscene" by the anti-poverty group, which also called for a step towards an "alternative human economy" that meets the needs of both the planet and its people.

"People are angry and calling out for alternatives. They're feeling left behind because however hard they work they can't share in their country's growth," said Katy Wright, Oxfam's head of global external affairs.

In the report, Oxfam said that Brexit and the election of Donald Trump showed that more and more people in "rich countries" are no longer willing to maintain the status quo when "what it delivers is wage stagnation, insecure jobs and a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots."

Britain's prime minister, Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond will attend the WEF this week, which critics say is merely a talking shop for the world's elite.

Oxfam is calling on business leaders to pay their staff a living wage and, as well as their fair share of tax. Max Lawson, the charity's policy adviser, challenged billionaires to "do the right thing" and do "what Bill Gates has called on them to do, which is pay their taxes."

He added: "Inequality matters and you cannot have a system where billionaires are systematically paying lower rates of tax than their secretary or cleaner."

The report found that since 2015, the richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet. It is based on data from Forbes and Credit Suisse.

Sky News quoted Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB chief executive, as saying: "This year's snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before.

A Davos logo is seen before the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on 15 January 2017 Ruben Sprich/Reuters

"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.

"While one in nine people on the planet will go to bed hungry tonight, a small handful of billionaires have so much wealth they would need several lifetimes to spend it," added Goldring.

The eight individuals identified in the reports are Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helu, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison and Michael Bloomberg.