VdK President Bentele: Concern about the deepening of the social divide
Popow / IMAGO/Metodi Popow
The social association VdK has criticized the social relief measures adopted by the Bundestag as insufficient.
"The immediate child supplement is definitely not sufficient, but only an emergency solution - and an extremely unsatisfactory one," said VdK President Verena Bentele of the editorial network Germany.
»20 euros a month is ridiculous in view of the enormous price increases.
They will be eaten up immediately by inflation.« Even the one-time payment to recipients of social benefits is insufficient.
Bentele demanded that other groups such as pensioners and recipients of sickness, transitional and parental benefits should also benefit from the federal government's relief package.
She told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung": "All the groups mentioned must also receive the 300 euro energy price flat rate.
Otherwise poverty in the country will increase and social divisions will deepen.«
The Bundestag decided on Thursday with the votes of the traffic light groups the so-called immediate surcharge for children and young people from poorer families.
There will be a one-off payment of 200 euros for adult beneficiaries of the minimum social security systems.
In addition, people who are entitled to unemployment benefit II should receive a one-time payment of 100 euros.
But it shouldn't stay that way – at least if inflation remains high.
Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) promised additional relief for citizens in this case.
"It's clear that if we maintain a very high price level in the long term, we will find new answers," Heil told the "Rheinische Post".
The traffic light coalition quickly decided on a relief package worth 30 billion euros to provide targeted help to citizens and cushion social hardship.
"If, for example, the price increases last in the long term, we have to organize permanent relief," said the minister.
Specifically, Heil pleaded for “socially graded climate money” to compensate for rising CO2 prices.
He was rather reluctant to lower VAT on food.
"In everything we do, we also have to ensure that relief actually reaches those who need it." Heil emphasized that the state could not compensate for all the losses caused by increased inflation.
Although the state can now cushion particular hardships, it cannot fully compensate for all price increases through subsidies.
"It's about supporting people with normal and low incomes in a targeted manner," said Heil.
With a view to a possible gas supply stop, Heil said that a unilateral gas embargo by Germany towards Russia "would plunge us into a double crisis, then we would be in stagflation, i.e. in an economic crisis and prices rising even more".
The German economy is still growing, said the SPD minister.
»At the moment we don't expect the sky to fall on our heads this year.
We have economic growth and an extraordinarily stable job market,” he said.
"If the situation escalates economically, we will not hesitate for a second and act decisively, for example by further extending short-time work."