A report published by the charity Oxfam International on Thursday shows Spain has the fourth highest levels of inequality in the European Union.
The report shows that the EU has 48.2 million people living in a situation described as "severe" poverty (7.5 million more than in 2009), with one in four in risk of "poverty and social exclusion," while there are 342 billionaires in the region.
Although poverty is a relative situation and can mean different things in Africa, Asia or Latin America in terms of life conditions, a "severe" situation for Oxfam means not being able to fulfill four of the following: not having delays in the payment of rent, mortgage or household bills, being able to maintain your home at an adequate temperature in winter, being able to face unexpected expenses, eating meat or fish every two days, having a week's holiday away from home once a year and having a car, washing machine, TV and telephone.
The Oxfam study shows Spain has seen a sharp rise in inequality.
"It is incomprehensible that in a time of crisis, where the most vulnerable most need protection, the measures adapted have done the opposite," commented Oxfam Intermon general director Jose Maria Vera, who said the Spanish fiscal system "benefits those who have the most and provokes poverty for the majority."