13 percent of Germans below poverty line

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A study by the German government has found that the poverty gap in Germany is worsening, with around 13 percent of the population living in poverty

Berlin -- One in four Germans is affected by poverty or would be living in poverty without benefit support, a report by the German government has revealed.

According to employment minister Olaf Scholz 13 percent of Germans are living in a state of poverty, whilst a further 13 percent are heavily reliant on government support to keep them above the poverty line.

Scholz noted that the gap between rich and poor in Germany was getting wider, in line with a general European trend

"The incomes of the rich have grown, whilst the incomes of the poorest have decreased slightly. Wages in the middle class have stagnated."

The European Union defines poverty as earning less than 60 percent of the average national income.

Holz, a member of the left of centre Social Democrats (SPD), argued that the figures were proof of the need for minimum pay.

"This shows we have wages in Germany that are too low and we need a minimum wage."

The report, which will officially be released on Monday, also points out the disproportionately large number of elderly people in poverty and the importance of the welfare state in preventing people from sliding into poverty.

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