Due to the rising cost of living and the risk of a long-term loss of purchasing power, the pressure on the government is increasing to extend the current relief for citizens in Germany and to adopt new measures. The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and the union want to ensure that pensioners and students can also enjoy the benefits that have just been decided.
To compensate for higher energy costs in particular, the traffic light coalition has a taxable energy flat rate of 300 euros for all employees, a one-off child bonus of 100 euros, the nine-euro ticket for bus and train in summer, the tank discount on petrol and Diesel as well as some surcharges for Hartz IV recipients.
The new DGB chairwoman Yasmin Fahimi told the “Funke” media group: “Pensioners and students must not go away empty-handed. You should also get the energy flat rate of 300 euros.” In addition, she demanded “a temporary reduction in VAT for energy and a gas price cap for all households”.
Left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch goes even further. He told the Tagesspiegel: “We need a large, third relief package that actually compensates for the additional costs of the citizens.” Otherwise there would be a “wave of poverty”. The first steps of the traffic light coalition are “only relief packages that will not be enough”. Pensioners and students should also receive the energy money. The left also wants higher benefits, which amount to 2,200 euros for a family of four and 1,400 euros for a retired couple. “The nine-euro ticket should be valid at least until the end of the year. The reduction in energy tax should also apply for longer than three months,” said Bartsch.
The CDU budget politician Christian Haase had previously announced that the Union would submit its own proposal for another relief package. This includes the reduction of the cold progression and inflation compensation, the concentration of the energy price flat rate primarily on students and pensioners, a reduction in electricity tax and a higher family and heating cost subsidy. The commuter allowance should be increased from the first kilometer, the solidarity surcharge will be completely eliminated. The Union wants to delete the nine-euro ticket.
Calls for additional relief are also getting louder in the SPD. Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil told the Tagesspiegel that the agreed package was correct and necessary. “But it can’t be the last step.” Above all, he thinks about the situation of people with a small budget. “Pensioners, recipients of basic security, but also many students are much harder hit by the inflationary wave than higher earners. It is precisely in such circumstances that the SPD is in demand. We have to hold the discussion about further relief, because the wave of inflation is far from over.”
The Bochum SPD member of the Bundestag Axel Schäfer told the Tagesspiegel: “If this loss of purchasing power persists, there will certainly be further relief.” This is expected from the SPD base in the Ruhr area.
FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr told the Tagesspiegel: “For me, relief means above all that the state takes less of what people deserve. But it shouldn’t always be about new government benefits and subsidies.” Since inflation means that salary increases are absorbed by taxes, “we should tackle direct taxes, such as income tax. But the Union looks primarily at VAT. It is an indirect tax and you risk budget deficits without this relief actually reaching the people.”