Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has promised that Hartz IV will be replaced with the income of a new citizen in the coming year. On Friday in Berlin, he said that the basic income reform should “decide” to enter into force on January 1. However, implementation remains controversial in the traffic light government. The FDP insists on the possibility of imposing penalties on people in receipt of citizenship benefits if they do not participate in job placement, and insists on better opportunities for additional income.
The introduction of civic income was agreed in the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP and is one of the most important social and political traffic light projects. Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) unveiled the first details on Wednesday. Conditions for benefit recipients should therefore be less stringent than in the current Hartz IV. Now coalition negotiations are underway.
According to Heil’s plans, the actual housing costs should be recognized in the first two years of receiving citizenship benefit, and property up to € 60,000 should not be tampered with. Moreover, during the six-month “confidence period” there are no plans to reduce the so-called breaches of obligations. This is the case, for example, when job offers are not accepted or applications are not written as agreed. If job meetings are chronically missed, sanctions could be imposed during the “confidence period” but only in “very, very stubborn cases,” Heil said Wednesday.
FDP for more sanctions
The FDP insists on greater stringency. Party leader Christian Lindner told the press of the Funke media group (Friday) that many people cannot understand that “they should not only support those in need with their taxes, but also those who deliberately fail to meet deadlines or reject education and work offered.” . Party deputy Johannes Vogel said in Deutschlandfunk: “There must be no freedom from sanctions, either in six months or after that.” However, he also pointed out that the topic covered only a few cases. Nine out of ten people using basic safeguards would never face sanctions.
Free Democrats also want to use the upcoming traffic light consultation to provide more additional earning opportunities for recipients of citizens’ income, according to their own statements. Heil has already announced it for pupils, trainees and students, and the FDP is also calling for more opportunities for adults.
The final word on the future level of incomes of citizens has not yet been said. Social Affairs Minister Heil has opted for new calculation methods and an increase of around € 40 to € 50 compared to the current standard Hartz IV rate of € 449 per month. Social organizations have been calling for clearer pay rises for a long time.
Lindner brakes while increasing
Lindner indicated that the standard rates would in any event be adjusted annually to reflect changes in wages and prices. “We should stick to it,” he said. Political specialist Jens Teutrine, responsible for citizens’ income in the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, warned on the German editorial network (RND) of “incalculable costs” using a new calculation method.
The deal requires more than just street light. According to Heil, the Citizen Income Act requires the approval of the Bundesrat. The Länder must also be brought on board. The Union rules over half of the countries. Their representatives have so far been skeptical about Heil’s plans.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz said Thursday he was “very curious to see if there are any incentives to return to the labor market.” CDU deputy director Carsten Linnemann criticized in the newspaper “Bild” (Friday): “It cannot be that almost two million jobs in Germany are vacant and traffic lights make work even less attractive by abolishing the” support and demand “principle. Criticism also came from employers’ chairman Rainer Dulger. Heil’s civic money is a misunderstood social justice, he said Friday.
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