Social reform: SPD promotes citizen money – Union justifies approval

social reform
SPD promotes citizen money – Union justifies approval

Citizens’ income is supposed to be the biggest social reform of the traffic light – and make a lot of things better for the unemployed in Germany. photo

© Marijan Murat/dpa

Citizens’ money is to replace “Hartz IV”. In order for it to come into force on January 1, it still has to be sealed in the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

The SPD in the Bundestag has again campaigned for the planned citizens’ allowance. “It’s about the biggest welfare state reform in decades,” said the parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, at the opening of the plenary session.

Mast explained that the Bundestag and Bundesrat would have to agree on this day so that the citizen’s allowance could come into force on January 1st. With the votes of all parliamentary groups apart from the AfD, the subject of citizen income was put on the agenda of the plenary session at short notice.

This was preceded by a mediation process. The state chamber had not approved the original plans of the traffic light coalition because of the Union’s concerns. In the Bundestag, however, the draft by Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) was approved.

AfD MP Stephan Brandner criticized the actions of the coalition and the Union. “The government and the old parties are (…) slipping past the true opposition,” said Brandner. Mast justified the “urgency” of the procedure with the “distress of those affected”. The parliamentary director of the Union faction, Thorsten Frei, pointed out that the conciliation procedure was constitutional.

“Agree to this law!”

Mast said to “all democrats” in Parliament: “Approve this law!” After the agreement in the mediation committee of the Bundesrat and Bundestag, which approved changes to the original plans, majorities in both houses were expected.

The CDU social politician Hermann Gröhe said that the result of the mediation had changed Heil’s plans “in a very fundamental way”. For example, an originally planned “trust period” has been abolished, during which the unemployed should not fear any cuts in payment in the event of breaches of duty at the beginning of receiving benefits. The Union faction now agrees to the plans.

Majority of Germans for stricter sanctions

According to a survey, a large majority of Germans find it good that the coalition and the Union have agreed on stricter sanctions than the original plans for the planned citizen benefit. This emerges from the ZDF “political barometer” that was published. Accordingly, 74 percent of those surveyed think it is good that there should be stricter requirements and sanctions for the unemployed right from the start. 92 percent of supporters of the Union think this is a good thing, but 68 percent of the SPD supporters surveyed also support the stricter sanctions.

44 percent of those surveyed find the increase in the standard rate by 53 euros “just right”. Around a quarter of those surveyed consider this to be “too little” (26 percent), and a similar number consider it “too much” (23 percent).


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