Berlin Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) has made it clear that the government wants to go even further in relieving the burden on citizens. In particular, he wants to absorb the additional costs that arise with the new gas surcharge.
For some, the cost involved would be the last straw. “It must not overflow,” said Habeck. “That’s exactly what it’s all about: to relieve these people in a targeted manner,” explained the Vice Chancellor. This targeted relief is the “task of the hour.”
On Monday it was announced that gas consumers would also be charged an additional levy of 2.4 cents per kilowatt hour. With an annual consumption of 15,000 to 20,000 per kilowatt hour per year, the gas levy will mean 432 to 576 euros for an average household, for example a family of four. The gas price has already risen massively.
According to Habeck, the third relief package from the federal government must be in place by the time the levy starts on October 1st. According to experts, this is necessary.
“Politicians should have long since taken care of designing a relief for gas customers who cannot bear the hardships associated with the price increases on their own,” says Veronika Grimm. This affects households right down to the middle of society, as the additional costs could be considerable.
Calculations by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) show that the levy will deprive private households of a total of eight billion euros in purchasing power in 2023. That is 0.4 percent of total disposable income.
“Because some suppliers want to shoulder the gas surcharge from their own funds and the adjustment is still unclear in the case of fixed contracts, the price effect should not occur suddenly, but gradually,” says IfW Vice President Stefan Kooths.
The federal government has already announced initial relief. There is an agreement in the traffic light for a reform of the housing benefit, and a permanent heating cost subsidy for low-income households is also planned.
In addition, the new “citizen’s allowance” promises higher standard rates for the unemployed. These reliefs should come into force at the turn of the year.
Social association calls for help specifically for pensioners
However, it is clear that further measures must be initiated. What that could be is currently being discussed. At the beginning of September, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will meet again with the social partners and other experts as part of the “concerted action” to discuss relief.
euros additional costs
are due to the gas levy for an average household with a consumption of 20,000 kilowatt hours per year.
The main aim is to support the lower income groups who suffer most from the high energy costs. “It’s getting tight, especially for households that don’t receive any state transfer payments. We have to provide targeted support here,” said SPD parliamentary group leader Matthias Miersch.
The German Social Association (SoVD) is calling for further state aid for low-income households. “The federal government must not leave people with a small budget alone now,” said SoVD President Adolf Bauer to the newspapers of the Funke media group. The federal government must now effectively and purposefully help pensioners, people on basic security and low earners.
Poverty-proof standard rates for basic security and the introduction of basic child security are needed. “The millions of retired people who have been completely ignored so far need a 300-euro energy allowance,” says Bauer.
Also read about the gas surcharge:
The German District Association calls for rapid implementation. “It has to come quickly. The additional energy aid must not only apply from the new year, but must take effect this autumn,” said President Reinhard Sager.
He referred in particular to the difficult situation for social welfare recipients. “The federal government must immediately submit a proposal for this. In any case, the applicable law does not provide for any possibility of increasing the cost share for electricity contained in the standard standard rate,” explained Sager.
More radical measures are also coming into focus. “General relief is correct, but the burden on gas in particular is much higher, so that these people need their own measure,” says economist Christian Bayer from the University of Bonn.
Cold progression debate
The price could be capped for basic gas consumption. If you need more gas, you have to pay the market price for it, which would give you an incentive to save. Such a measure is also being discussed in the federal government, according to government circles.
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Finance Minister Christian Lindner’s (FDP) plan for tax relief is also part of the debate. He wants to break down the cold progression. These are creeping tax hikes when a pay rise is eaten up by inflation but still results in a higher burden.
“This is a massive loss of purchasing power for consumers.” Jörg Krämer, chief economist at Commerzbank
Lindner’s plan is controversial in the coalition. The reason: In absolute terms, middle and upper income earners in particular would benefit from the reduction of cold progression. People who earn little or no income or who therefore pay no income tax would get nothing.
SPD and Greens prefer to only relieve lower incomes and do not consider the financial resources sufficient to also reduce the cold progression. Economics Minister Habeck said: “Of course, the cold progression is also a relief.” As long as the money is tight, you have to think carefully about what you spend it on.
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