High energy prices: Cabinet approves relief package

Status: 04/27/2022 1:05 p.m

As a result of the Ukraine war, energy prices have risen enormously. The federal government wants to relieve the burden on citizens and has now decided on several measures – including a nine-euro ticket for buses and trains and a one-time increase in child benefit.

Due to the sharp rise in energy prices, the federal cabinet has decided on a relief package worth billions for citizens. Among other things, the energy tax on fuel is to be reduced for a limited period of three months. Employed persons who are subject to income tax are to receive a one-time lump sum of 300 euros gross to compensate for the high energy costs. The child benefit is to be increased once by 100 euros per child.

“Debt brake is suspended anyway due to the pandemic”, Daniel Pokraka, ARD Berlin

Tagesschau 12:00 p.m., April 27, 2022

States want more money from the federal government

From June, a nine-euro monthly ticket for local and regional transport will also be valid nationwide for three months. However, there are still unanswered questions – including financing. The federal government wants to give the states that are responsible for local transport an extra 2.5 billion euros. According to the states, however, this is not enough. It is therefore considered conceivable that this project will fail in the Federal Council.

The reduction of the energy tax on fuels is also controversial. The traffic light coalition had drawn up the plans for this at a time when the prices for petrol and diesel had risen massively as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine – for diesel in some cases to more than 2.30 per liter. In the meantime, however, fuel prices have fallen again.

Criticism of the 300-euro flat rate above all from social organizations. The background is that only employed people benefit from this lump sum, but not population groups such as pensioners. According to the criticism, seniors with small pensions in particular are dependent on the money. The traffic light parties, on the other hand, are citing the upcoming pension increase.

Supplementary budget with almost 40 billion euros

In order to finance the relief package, Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) has to improve the budget plans that have already been submitted to the Bundestag. In a supplementary budget, he is planning additional debts of almost 40 billion euros – in addition to the relief package for citizens, this also includes economic aid, the extension of free corona tests and other measures.

According to the draft, the flat-rate energy price alone will cost the state around 10.4 billion euros. Although the payments add up to 13.8 billion euros, the state also takes 3.4 billion more in wage and income tax and solidarity surcharge. Costs of almost nine billion euros are planned for the child bonus this year. These will also lead to slightly more tax revenue in the years to come. According to the Ministry of Finance, the federal government will lose around 3.15 billion euros in tax revenue due to the temporary tax cut on fuel.

Already the second package

Next, the Bundestag has to deal with the relief package. The heads of the coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP agreed on this package at the end of March. A first package had already been decided in February, which, among other things, provides for the abolition of the EEG levy on the electricity bill from July.

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