The FDP has criticized Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil's initiative to increase the standard Hartz IV rates. "It applies to everyone in the coalition that they should stick to the goals in the coalition agreement," said the labor market and social policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Pascal Kober.
There is no question of a change in the calculation of the standard rates for Hartz IV. Rather, the coalition agreement contains "a clear commitment to giving Hartz IV recipients more of the money they earn themselves and making the long-term placement of the long-term unemployed in the labor market the focus of this legislative period," explained Kober. To this end, he expects proposals from the Minister of Labor instead of uncoordinated advances.
Heil announces a "significant increase".
Minister of Labor Heil had previously confirmed his goal of increasing the standard rates for Hartz IV recipients as part of the planned introduction of the new citizen's income. "I will present the bill this summer and there will be a significant increase in the standard rates at the beginning of next year," said the SPD politician. "I am determined to change the way we calculate the standard rate. The current mechanism lags behind the price development too much."
Low and middle income people should be supported because of the high inflation. "In this serious crisis, we have to focus the help on people with lower and middle incomes," Heil told the editorial network Germany. "This is the only way we can keep our society together in difficult times."
Social organizations welcome Salvation's plans
Social associations support the announced increase. They advocate an increase of around 230 euros per month and also demand an immediate adjustment of the Hartz IV benefits to the price increase, as the newspapers of the "Funke Mediengruppe" report.
"We are very pleased that the Minister of Labor shares our opinion and is announcing a fundamentally new calculation of the standard rates," said the President of the VdK Social Association, Verena Bentele. Now these words must be followed by action as soon as possible. "Many people don't have enough money for food and energy. That's why the standard rates must be adjusted to the price increases without delay."
Werner Hesse, Managing Director of the Paritätisches Gesamtverband, also emphasizes that the current price trend is increasing the need day by day. It needs higher benefits overall and thus a "more than significant increase to a needs-based, livelihood level". The current rule sets were not enough “in front and behind” to get through the month, said Hesse. "According to our calculations, a really poverty-proof citizen's income should currently be at least 678 euros."
In addition, immediate financial aid is needed to bridge the time until the introduction of citizen income, Hesse added.
The citizen money of the traffic light
According to the plans of the traffic light coalition, a new citizens' allowance is to replace the previous Hartz IV system. The bill is expected to be presented this summer. The citizen's income will reduce the bureaucracy of the system, people in need would be reliably secured, said Heil: "Our welfare state must ensure that people who have no financial reserves can also make ends meet."
In their coalition agreement, the traffic light parties agreed on the introduction of citizen income. However, there are still differences in the design – for example with regard to the amount of future benefits. There is also currently dissent within the traffic light on other issues – such as a possible extension of the service life of nuclear power plants.