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Global Economy

Social organizations call for more help for the poor

In view of persistent price increases and additional spending as a result of the pandemic, social organizations are pushing for emergency aid for poor families. The inflation and financial burdens caused by the corona pandemic exacerbated the plight of people who depend on subsistence benefits such as Hartz IV, according to an open letter sent, among others, by the German Children's Fund, the German Federation of Trade Unions, the Paritätische Gesamtverband and the Diakonie Germany as well as the Jusos and the Green Youth have signed.

"It is high time to take countermeasures against poverty policy," says the letter to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and several ministers, which the Parity Welfare Association distributed today. "It cannot be that the poorest of all people are left behind again". The letter calls on the government to quickly decide on the immediate bonus for children affected by poverty as agreed in the coalition agreement, as well as “corona aid for all those receiving basic security”. The social association VdK, the Tafel Germany, the social association Germany (SoVD), the German child protection association, the German children's charity and the left-wing youth association Solid have joined the appeal.

"Level of basic security too low"

The authors criticize that the persistently high price increases, especially in the case of electricity costs, are "not nearly" compensated for by the Hartz IV standard rates, which were adjusted on January 1st. "At the same time, the additional costs for masks and other pandemic-related expenses are exacerbating the plight of people who depend on benefits such as Hartz IV." This weighs all the more heavily because the level of basic security is too low anyway.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, consumers had to pay 20.5 percent more for energy at the beginning of the year than a year earlier. Heating oil was 51.9 percent more expensive, natural gas 32.2 percent, fuel 24.8 percent and electricity 11.1 percent.

"It is with great concern" that the authors perceive that the immediate bonus for children affected by poverty is a long time coming "and so far no steps have been taken to support all recipients of basic security benefits".

When will the immediate surcharge come?

The immediate surcharge agreed by the SPD, Greens and FDP is intended to benefit recipients of Hartz IV, social assistance or child allowance until the coalition implements its more comprehensive project of basic child security. Federal Minister for Family Affairs Anne Spiegel (Greens) promised the immediate award at the end of January for the "next months".

The relief planned by the traffic light coalition should also include a heating cost subsidy for low earners. In addition, the CO2 price for heating costs should be divided between tenants and landlords and the EEG surcharge should be abolished as quickly as possible.

The federal spokeswoman for the Green Youth, Sarah-Lee Heinrich, told the editorial network Germany: “We see how the dangerous mix of pandemic, high energy costs and skyrocketing food prices is becoming an extreme burden for many people.” Such a crisis cannot be planned in advance in the coalition agreement, which is why the traffic light must act now and "support all people who cannot afford the high prices".

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