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US super-rich agree to give 50 per cent of their cash to charity

More than 30 US billionaires pledged yesterday to give away at least 50 per cent of their wealth to charity as part of a campaign by Warren Buffett, the investor, and Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft.

Among billionaires joining the campaign are New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller and investor Ronald Perelman, according to The Giving Pledge campaign.

The Giving Pledge was started in June by Gates, whose $53bn (£33bn) fortune places him second on the Forbes magazine list of the world's richest people, and Buffett, who ranks third. They wanted to persuade hundreds of US billionaires to give away most of their fortune during their lifetime or after their death and to publicly state their intention. "We've really just started but we've had a terrific response," Buffett said. "The Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used.

"We're delighted that so many people are doing just that – and that so many have decided to commit to sums far greater than the 50 per cent minimum level," he said.