Report: Hardly Escaping Poverty in Germany | Free press

Those who are poor also remain poor. This is the result of the latest government report on the social situation in Germany. And the Corona crisis has not made the situation of low-wage workers any easier.

Berlin (dpa) – Poverty in Germany has solidified in recent decades: there are fewer and fewer career opportunities for the long-term unemployed and people in precarious jobs. This is evident from the sixth poverty and prosperity report that passed the cabinet on Wednesday.

The probability that a person living in poverty is still poor five years later has risen from 40 to 70 percent since the late 1980s.

Numerous social associations have therefore called for a political change of direction. The left-wing chairwoman Katja Kipping also called for consequences: “This inequality is an explosive on the pillars of democracy,” she warned. Diakonie chairman Ulrich Lilie called for “an infrastructure that is accessible to everyone, so that they can not only get from A to B spatially by public transport, but also socially from bottom to top”. The VdK social association campaigned to raise Hartz IV rates and the legal minimum wage and to curb precarious jobs.

Federal Social Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) also admitted that action needed to be taken: basic state security reform and the minimum wage raised to 12 euros per hour. At the same time, Heil also noted positive developments: for example, the wages of employees in the lowest income group had risen above average due to the introduction of the statutory minimum wage. Moreover, the majority of Germans live in stable social situations: “Germany is not a society of decline.”

The poverty and prosperity report is drawn up every four years and is intended to make an inventory of the social situation in the country. The sixth edition also focused on the effects of the corona pandemic. People with low incomes and fixed-term workers are particularly affected by the economic effects. However, the report also highlights that government measures such as aid packages and working time allowances have mitigated the negative impact: “This aid has (…) eased the economic hardship, especially for lower middle incomes.”

The government report also shows how unevenly wealth is distributed in Germany: the top ten percent of society therefore owns nearly 64 percent of the total net wealth – even more than previously thought. The National Poverty Conference – an alliance of various organizations and initiatives – sees this as a threat to social peace and calls for “decisive steps towards redistribution”.

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