The number of billionaires in the UK witnessed a 20% jump when the rest of the country was struggling to cope with Covid-19.

The revelation was made by a charity called the Equality Trust, which has called for a progressive wealth tax as the UK faces a cost-of-living crisis. The report by the charity said that government and central bank interventions allowed for an "explosion of billionaire wealth" at the expense of others.

"This sudden explosion in extreme wealth was in large part due to measures aimed at lessening the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, as central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets, leading to a stock market boom which effectively lined the pockets of shareholders," said Jo Wittams, co-executive director of the Equality Trust.

The report added that there has been an over 1,000% increase in billionaire wealth in the last 32 years. It observed that there has been a tenfold increase in the number of billionaires in the country.

In 1990, only 15 people were billionaires in the UK. The number of billionaires in the country now stands at 177, up from 147 in 2020. The UK's richest now own £653 billion collectively, a significant increase from £53.9 billion in 1990.

"That we have allowed the very richest few to accrue such a staggering amount of the nation's wealth since 1990 is a national disgrace," said Wittams. "The UK's record on wealth inequality is appalling, grossly unjust, and presents a real threat to our economy and to our society."

The report comes at a time when 3.9 million children are living in poverty in the UK and 6.7 million households are struggling to heat their homes. The group has called for the government to "tax wealth in line with incomes, reform the financial sector, and end the UK's role in tax avoidance."

Tax Justice UK has also asked the government to take steps to tackle inequality in Britain. It has also suggested taxing the wealthy so that the government does not have to cut back on spending on public services, per a report in The Guardian.

Budget 2016: Richest 1% has gained over 15 years while the poor have lost out, Oxfam says
The collective wealth of UK's richest 1% or 600,000 people increased by 79% to £2.4tn between the years 2000 to 2015 Reuters