With his proposal for “social climate money”, Federal Minister of Social Affairs Hubertus Heil (SPD) triggered skeptical reactions from the FDP and severe criticism from the Union. “Although the discharge is correct, we now have a real patchwork of measures,” said the economic policy spokeswoman for the Union faction, Julia Klöckner, of the German Press Agency in Berlin. SPD parliamentary group leader Dagmar Schmidt defended Heil’s advance.
“Unfortunately, we have to reckon with permanently rising costs for energy, food and mobility,” Schmidt told the dpa. “That’s why Hubertus Heil’s proposal for a social climate money comes at the right time.” It’s about relieving smaller and normal incomes and not distributing money with the watering can.
In the traffic light coalition, too, Heil’s proposal was received with some reservations. FDP leader and finance minister Christian Lindner said he was excited about the financing ideas. A reform of the wage and income tax is closer.
Schmidt replied to Lindner: “I’m reminding the Minister of Finance of the second relief package.” She quoted the corresponding resolution of the coalition committee of March 23: “In order to enable a simple and unbureaucratic way for direct payments to citizens in the future, the federal government will develop a payment method for the climate money via the tax ID before the end of this year.”
Schmidt said to Lindner: “Instead of just lamenting what’s supposedly not possible, he should get to work now.”
The head of the German Institute for Economic Research, Marcel Fratzscher, also criticized the planned climate money. The climate money is “good and right”, but: “It is also clear that such a climate money is rather too low to compensate for the high inflation, especially for people with low incomes,” said Fratzscher to RTL / ntv.
In addition, the climate money was not created as a reaction to the effects of the war in Ukraine: “Climate money would have come one way or the other, because that was an agreement in the coalition agreement and therefore it should not be sold now as a reaction to the high inflation. “
Fratzscher therefore demanded: “There needs to be specific relief for people on low incomes, especially when it comes to food, so that they can cushion the shock of high inflation.” Experts assume that the climate money will be up to 200 euros per capita and year could be. Fratzscher said: “Family with low income would actually need 100 to 150 euros a month.”
Klöckner accused the traffic light of making a new proposal for relief every day. “Who else can see through that?” For those who need support, the climate money is too bureaucratic. In addition: “How should the sum be transferred to the citizen? How does the state know each individual’s account number?”
According to Heil’s ideas, people who earn less than 4,000 euros gross per month as single people and less than 8,000 euros gross per month as married couples should receive social climate money from 2023 – financed from the income from CO2 pricing.
The idea behind the climate money already announced in the coalition agreement is to socially cushion rising costs due to the switch to renewable energies. Because if people with lower incomes cause less CO2 on average, they will benefit from a combination of CO2 prices and climate money – while high earners would tend to be burdened.
FDP parliamentary group leader Johannes Vogel opposed an income limit for climate money in the “Bild am Sonntag”: “We have to give the income from the CO2 price back to the citizens permanently as a climate dividend or climate money. But we should do that as unbureaucratically as possible, for example with a per capita premium.” Those on low incomes would particularly benefit from this.
FDP Vice Wolfgang Kubicki, on the other hand, told the newspapers of the Funke media group that the administrative and bureaucratic costs would continue to rise if another transfer was made, without this expenditure helping low earners.
Heil had also proposed an increase in the standard rates for basic security as part of the reform of today’s Hartz IV system, which is to be replaced by a new citizen’s allowance in 2023. FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr told the “Bild am Sonntag”: “The wrong incentives could be set here.” Specifically, he called for income tax relief instead.