Spending more money without new debts – that is what the new federal budget should make possible. This is made possible by putting the money in a special pot. One ministry in particular will benefit from the money blessing.
The grand coalition wants to spend significantly more money next year on work and social affairs, climate protection and families. The federal budget for 2020 provides for expenditures of around 362 billion euros – almost six billion euros more than this year.
For the seventh time in a row, no new debts are to be incurred. This was the result of the final deliberations of the Budget Committee in Berlin early this morning. The Bundestag now wants to approve the draft budget in the week from 25 to 29 November.
Nearly two billion more
In the more than 15-hour “clean-up meeting”, the budget officials approved several changes to the draft by Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), which the cabinet had approved in June. The bottom line is that expenditure has now been increased by 1.66 billion euros. This can be financed because the federal government has to pay less interest on its debts and by taking more money from the asylum reserve, which was saved after the refugee crisis.
Above all, the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, by far the largest of any ministry, is growing faster than expected to 150.22 billion euros according to the will of the coalition factions. The main focus is on the federal government’s participation in benefits for accommodation and heating for welfare and unemployment benefit recipients, as well as unemployment benefits.
The budgets of the environment and family ministries are also growing faster than originally planned. Planned cuts in the education budget were reversed and additional funds were approved for the Digital Pact for Schools. The structural change in the coal regions will be supported with an additional 500 million euros.
Losses to the Minister of the Interior
The expenses of the Ministry of the Interior were reduced. Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) must save on IT services, equipment and software. At the same time, he will get new jobs at the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as well as money for transport helicopters at the Federal Police in the longer term.
The plans of Finance Minister Scholz also provide for relief for families with low incomes. The child supplement, maintenance advance and child allowances are to be adjusted. In addition, the first measures for more climate protection will be tackled – such as reducing the value-added tax on train tickets. Major reductions are planned for 2021: Child benefit will then rise again. In addition, the solidarity surcharge – the largest tax reduction in recent years – will no longer apply to most German citizens.
Eckhardt Rehberg (CDU), the budget policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, said that record investments of 42.9 billion euros strengthened the growth forces and made Germany fit for the future. “We have the necessary revenues to finance the right priorities: Climate protection, internal and external security, education and research as well as social security. However, the federal government could not afford to provide old debt assistance for over-indebted municipalities, as announced by Finance Minister Scholz.
Criticism from the opposition
Criticism came from the opposition. FDP budget member Otto Fricke said: “The coalition again only continued like this”. There were no future initiatives to be recognized. The FDP, on the other hand, had shown that the solidarity surcharge could actually be abolished for all citizens by 2020.
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