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Discount giant Aldi 'took government subsidies'
Photo: DPA

Discount giant Aldi 'took government subsidies'

Published: 07 May 2012 15:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 May 2012 15:26 GMT+02:00

German discount supermarket giant Aldi, which has consistently made its owners the richest men in the country, has been taking government subsidies to train employees, it emerged at the weekend.

But weekly magazine Der Spiegel said many details remain shrouded in secrecy even by the government, to protect the commercial interests of Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd – separate but associated companies.

Information officially requested from the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) did show that Aldi training was being paid for with government funds, but details were scarce.

“The requested information concerns details which have not been approved for the public, and due to a request for secrecy from Aldi, cannot be released,” the BAG statement sent to Spiegel said.

Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer, under whose remit the BAG falls, refused to comment, while his staff merely said that, “as long as Aldi Nord, and Süd, meet the eligibility criteria for the subsidy, they are justified in receiving it.”

Green MP Valerie Wilms, who submitted a parliamentary question to try to uncover how much Aldi was getting, was told that the way BAG handled data was such that it was difficult to see how much individual companies were getting.

“It is aggravating as an MP, to have to have to poke around in the dark and not get clear information about what is done with tax payer’s money and subsidies,” she said.

“The subsidies should be helping with training and development – not to pep up the savings programme of a discounter. It would be outrageous if a billion-euro firm like Aldi was actually tapping into this money,” she told Der Spiegel.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:22 May 7, 2012 by nemo999
Now that is the way to run a free and open government.

Everyone of no consequence will have no idea of where their tax dollars are going, who is sending it there, and what is being done with it once it get there.

It appears to be a perfect system for keeping everyone of no consequence in the dark, and it appears to be working quite well, except for this little slip up. So lets not muck it up by demanding all that information, let us just keep it between our rich elected officials and our rich corporation owners, it will be their little secret.
00:02 May 8, 2012 by wood artist
If they're working within the current law, don't blame them...blame the people who wrote the law if you think it's bad. It may not have been intended to work as it does, and might well need some fixing, but that doesn't mean they're automatically doing anything illegal.

wa
20:23 May 11, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
Germany is well known for the unhealthy connection between MPs and the leaders of industry and commerce. It is therefore not surprising when Aldi is now in a situation where subsidies can be obtained without great difficulty. Was it not a close member of the current environment-minister's family who was for many years, a top manager for Aldi-Nord?
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