Heil: No help for everyone
Union and DGB are demanding new relief from traffic lights
06/22/2022, 08:07 am
High inflation, high energy prices and no end in sight: The traffic light wants to advise on new help for citizens. Spahn and the DGB formulate their demands. Minister of Social Affairs Heil refers to limited possibilities.
Before the coalition committee of SPD, Greens and FDP, the Union and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) called for new relief for the population. Union deputy faction leader Jens Spahn told the Funke media group that the previous measures taken by the traffic light coalition would “ignore the needs of citizens and companies”. “Sustainable and targeted relief is needed where prices are highest.” Meanwhile, Federal Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil drew attention to the limits of state intervention. “The state cannot compensate for everything for everyone,” said the SPD politician to the “Stern”. Basically, he sees “no leeway to relieve people who have a very high income”.
Among other things, Spahn suggested energy vouchers that “combine energy saving and money saving”. In addition, the CDU politician called for a reduction in electricity tax and called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to implement his campaign promise for an “industrial electricity price of four cents”. “He should finally redeem that and relieve companies so that products don’t become even more expensive.”
“Targeted help for those who need it”
The chairman of the workers’ group of the Union parliamentary group, Axel Knoerig, also called for further aid to be designed more precisely. “Any further relief package from the federal government must follow the guideline: Targeted aid for those who need it,” he said. The tank discount and the nine-euro ticket, for example, are “not expedient”. The commuters get nothing from the tank discount. Rather, Knoerig campaigned for a “removal allowance independent of income”.
DGB boss Yasmin Fahimi also spoke out in favor of further financial relief for the population. “In view of the further rise in prices and the uncertainties in the gas supply, another relief package for the citizens is absolutely necessary,” she said. “In such a time of crisis, wage policy cannot be the sole burden of preventing losses in purchasing power and cushioning social hardship.” An “ongoing, monthly supplement to the Hartz IV standard rates” is also necessary. This is a fast-acting emergency measure for low-income earners. Fahimi also advocated a price cap for basic electricity and gas needs. This could quickly relieve all private households.
Heil was open to discussing different measures aimed at relieving people with low and normal incomes. “We have to cushion the consequences of the price development specifically for the people for whom it really is an existential threat.” As SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich had announced, the coalition committee should also serve to prepare the “concerted action” with politicians, employers and employees. Heil said that there should be “concrete agreements on what the respective partners can contribute”.
On the initiative of Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a “concerted action” is to be held on July 4th to jointly discuss the price increases. The planned votes are named after the historic “Concerted Action” from the 1960s.
In his own words, Heil does not assume that inflation will continue in the long term. “I hope that many prices will return to normal in the coming year,” he said. Nevertheless, long-term support is needed for the unemployed and people on low incomes, as permanently high energy prices are to be expected.