German designated Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Lisa Paus attends a news conference of Germany's Green party in Berlin, Germany, April 14, 2022. Fabian Sommer/Pool via REUTERS

Federal Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) fears growing child poverty in Germany due to the drastic price increases and has spoken out in favor of further relief. “The danger that child poverty will increase is great,” Paus told the editorial network Germany (RND/Thursday). “That’s why we have to take countermeasures with further relief.”

Many people, especially families with children, have their backs to the wall because of price developments. “It’s now about existence.”

Representatives of the youth organization of the SPD warned that the high energy costs could drive young people and even people with middle incomes into a “poverty spiral”. Juso boss Jessica Rosenthal and her deputy Manon Luther called for a gas price cap in the “Rheinische Post” and in the newspapers of the Funke media group (Thursday). They expressed negative views on the gas levy that will apply from October. Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) is thus implementing “socially unjust policies”, Rosenthal told the “Rheinische Post”.

The gas surcharge is currently fueling the debate on how citizens can be relieved most effectively in times of high energy and food prices. Politicians and economists have been overdoing themselves with proposals for measures for weeks.

The head of the Junge Union (JU), Tilman Kuban, believes that youth energy money of 500 euros at least until the end of the year is the right way to relieve young people in the current situation. A solution is needed “that helps students and trainees equally unbureaucratically and without distinguishing the type of training,” he told the Funke newspapers. The agreed gas levy puts a particularly heavy burden on these groups.

The federal government wanted to avoid having to levy VAT on the gas surcharge. However, the EU Commission had rejected a corresponding application for legal reasons. According to the Vice President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Stefan Kooths, the federal government should use VAT for targeted relief. “It is better to collect the VAT on the gas levy and use the resulting funds to cushion social hardship in a targeted manner,” said the economist of the “Rheinische Post”.