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Government ‘massaged’ poverty report

Government 'massaged' poverty report
Photo: DPA
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.


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