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18 December, 2016

German government deleted passages from poverty report

Newspaper reports say that the labor ministry deleted potentially controversial parts of a forthcoming report on poverty and wealth in Germany. The news casts doubt on the report's credibility.

According to a report in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ) newspaper, the German government has watered down passages from the fifth edition of its Report on Poverty and Wealth. The report won't be officially published until 2017, but a draft was leaked to the press earlier this week.

The passages concern assertions that wealthy people in Germany have more political influence in Germany than poorer ones. The SZ article will only add fuel to the fire of critics of the report, which concludes that the number of poor people in Germany is growing.

The SZ says that the following passage was excised from an earlier version of the document: "Political change is significantly more likely if it's supported by people with higher incomes."

The document originally warned of a "crisis of political representation," concluding that "people with lower incomes forgo political participation because in their experience, politicians take them into account to a lesser extent when making their decisions."

Another deleted passage states that "not only do people in Germany with different incomes take part in politics to various degrees, but there is clearly a non-level playing field, to the detriment of the poor, in political decision-making."

Mentions of "the influence of special interest representatives and lobbyism" were also omitted.

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