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Germany: economy growing but so is inequality

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 01:30

For all its economic success, Germany has a growing problem with inequality and poverty. As Sonia Legg reports, it even has a greater proportion of working poor than Britain, France, Hungary and Cyprus.

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Germany's economy is forging ahead and GDP has just been revised up. But the gap between rich and poor is growing - and nowhere more so than the Ruhr region. In the north soup kitchens and food banks are well used thanks in part to a decline in the coal and steel industries. While in the south the wealthy drive smart cars to work in high tech and pharmaceutical companies. A road between the two region is called the "social equator." (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHAIRMAN OF FOOD BANK 'DORTMUNDER TAFEL', SAYING: "I wouldn't say it's worsened, but the number of people asking for supply cards has increased. We have 1,000 names on our waiting list and we can assume that behind them there are 3,000 we can't serve at the moment." The German Institute for Economic Research says the economy grew by 22 percent in real terms between 1991 and 2014. But the poorest 10 percent of households saw their disposable income shrink by 8 percent. In contrast, the richest 10 percent enjoyed a 27 percent rise. (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHAIRMAN OF FOOD BANK 'DORTMUNDER TAFEL', HORST ROEHR, SAYING: "We have a very wealthy class, we have a decreasing middle class, and a lower class, that includes those on benefits and asylum seekers - the percentage of those is getting bigger." With national elections in September it's an issue for the Chancellor. But she probably won't be highlighting the fact that Germany has a greater proportion of working poor than Britain and France. In fact it even has more than Hungary and Cyprus.

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Germany: economy growing but so is inequality

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 01:30