In view of rising energy and food prices, Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) quickly wants further relief for people with low and middle incomes. In addition to the new citizens’ allowance, he wants to introduce climate money.

According to information from Saturday, from January 1, 2023 there should be a social climate allowance for a monthly gross income of less than 4,000 euros. In addition, the standard rates for recipients of the new citizen’s income are to increase by 40 to 50 euros per month. Headwind for the billion-dollar projects came immediately from Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).

“We have to give an answer that goes beyond the current relief package,” said Heil to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “I am firmly convinced that we need permanent and targeted relief for everyone with low and middle incomes.”

According to the minister, the climate money should be paid out once a year and “benefit people who earn less than 4,000 euros gross as single people and less than 8,000 euros gross a month as married people”.

It is important to structure the climate money “socially graded – according to the principle: those who need it most get the most,” said the minister. “Those who earn a lot get nothing.” For high earners, high prices are “also an annoying thing, but they can deal with it”.

The climate money was basically agreed in the coalition agreement of the traffic light of SPD, Greens and FDP. However, the date of introduction and details remained open.

On January 1st, the new citizens’ allowance should also be introduced, “with which we will overcome the Hartz IV system and give the welfare state a new face,” announced Heil. The previous calculation of the standard rate no longer withstands the price development.

Climate money is also met with criticism

The FDP and the Greens have reacted differently to Social Affairs Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) proposals for social climate money. Finance Minister Lindner, who wants to comply with the debt brake again in 2023, has repeatedly emphasized that the traffic light coalition must set priorities for its projects. “Since debt and tax increases are ruled out, I’m curious about the financing ideas,” he told the Funke newspapers about Heil’s plans.

This shows that the SPD “has not forgotten the redistribution policy”. “Much closer than setting up new pots is also that we are tackling a reform of wage and income tax for the coming year.”

Heil stated that the cost of his project was “in the double-digit billions”. This is a financial feat, but it is necessary to keep society together, he said. The climate money should be financed from the income from CO2 pricing, the citizens’ income from taxes.

Support for Heil’s relief initiative came from the Greens. “It’s good that Hubertus Heil is now making suggestions as to how we can help low-income earners and people on basic security,” Greens leader Ricarda Lang told the Funke newspapers. It is about paying particular attention to those who cannot bear longer-term burdens even with one-off grants, but who need structural support.

The Greens parliamentary group leader Andreas Audretsch told the German Press Agency in Berlin on Saturday: “It’s good that Minister Heil is making suggestions for systematic relief.” Audretsch also advocated a recalculation of the standard rates in the basic security systems. Regarding the climate money, Audretsch said that this is “a key instrument for making climate protection social by paying the income from the CO2 price directly back to the people”.

Regardless of Heil’s initiative, Lindner expected difficult talks in the traffic light government with a view to the 2023 budget. “Then the real formation of this coalition will come,” he told the “Focus”. “Unfortunately, not all of our colleagues in the cabinet have sufficiently internalized that we cannot continue to do business as before. This will be a moment of awakening for all of us.”