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Government 'massaged' poverty report
Photo: DPA

Government 'massaged' poverty report

Published: 28 Nov 2012 12:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2012 12:21 GMT+01:00

The German government has "massaged" its four-yearly "Poverty and Wealth Report", excising particularly critical passages, the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Wednesday.

The paper acquired copies of both the original draft and the revised version of the report.

In the introduction to the report, a statement saying "private wealth in Germany is distributed very unequally" -- present in a draft sent to different ministries in September for approval -- has been cut from a revised version dating from November 21, the newspaper said.

Similarly, a passage relating to wage developments has also been removed.

The offending paragraph said that "while wage developments at the top end showed a positive upward trend, wages at the lower end of the scale have fallen in price-adjusted terms in the past 10 years. The wage gap has widened."

And that could "jeopardize social cohesion," according to the first version of the report.

According to the Süddeutsche, Economy Minister Philipp Rösler made it known that the original draft version report "does not reflect the government's opinion."

Nevertheless, a spokeswoman for the labour ministry denied the report had been embellished.

"The changes were made after consultation with different ministries" in what was a "normal process," she told news agency AFP.

No date has yet been set for publication of the report, the spokeswoman added.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:16 November 28, 2012 by Zubair Khan
If at later stage proved true will be a bad stigma on the name of ruling elite.
14:33 November 28, 2012 by raandy
I would have no doubt that the new report was embellished. Anyone who has lived her for some time can see that the wage gap has widened and it is "jeopardizing social cohesion,"hence the increase of the far right.

When one reads and sees how the upper income level has increased and their wages are inversely proportional to theirs, dissatisfaction with the system is the inevitable.
15:29 November 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
I am dying to hear from ChrisRea here also. He has gone very quiet lately. Statistics and trends are showing the mighty DE is not so mighty and the real situation is showing the upper echelons of Germans proping themselves up on the backs of working class Germans and the rest of the Eurozone. Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde's loan sharking buddies are getting away with murder.
17:36 November 28, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Berlin fuer alles

Oh, we wouldn't want you to leave this world, would we? So I will add my comment only to save you from dying, even if the article does not seem very interesting to me.

Widening the wage/wealth gap in Germany was already reported for some time (for example, about a year ago, there was even an article on TheLocal on this topic). Germany was and is probably still going towards the American structure, away from the one to be found in the Nordic countries. Obviously, there is and there will always be a gap between wealthy and poor people in all societies. What would be the ideal balance is still to be learned (or at least I do not have the information).

From political point of view, widening the gap is bad news for the parties in power (it brings votes to the opposition). So I find it hardly surprising that the government tried to hide such conclusions. Of course, it is not ethical to do something like that (if the conclusions were correctly drawn).

I am not familiar with the methodology of the report. It is however interesting to be noted that other official statistics contradict the idea of falling wages. It was actually you, Berlin fuer alles, that pointed out to them in another article. Those statistics had shown that overall no downward trend was to be spotted and also that several industries experienced repeated growth of salaries (such as the manufacturing or hospitality industry). Of course, the income/wealth gap can increase also when all incomes increase.
23:12 November 28, 2012 by chris berlin
ChrisRea: Also in the norhtern coutnries the gap between the rich and the poor is widening but on another level. I do not know if there is any country in the world where this is not happening. The question is more, how can this be reversed (minimum wage, higher tax on the rich) withouth harming the economy. This will be the big question.

Berlin für alles: just polemic as always. Of course there are social problems in Germany, also Merkel underlines this. Even her party is pushing the idea of a minimum wage today.... But you must see that the situation in Germany - all together - is extraordinarily good compared to the southern part of Europe.
07:20 November 29, 2012 by raandy
Chris I doubt that there will be much of an improvement in Euro Zone in the future.

I am sure you have read the recent IEA report on world energy, by the year 2030 the USA will be the largest energy producer in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia.This will be a MAJOR game changer.The world will become more polarized, between those that have energy and those that do not.

"LONDON (CNNMoney) -- The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer before 2020, and will be energy independent 10 years later, according to a new forecast by the International Energy Agency."
19:44 November 30, 2012 by Englishted
The gap between rich and poor increasing is a damming indictment on whoever is in power. I have seen it happen under new labour in the U.K. (traitors to their roots ) and in Germany under both the C.D.U . (normal and expected practice from this party ) and the S.P.D. under their previous leader that Russian gas puppet .

So I am waiting for a upsurge in people voting for the wing parties (left and right ) or social unrest on the streets ,however the Germans only take to the streets on green issues something that I can't understand when other issues have at least the same value .
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