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Politicians call on unemployed not to buy fireworks
Photo: DPA

Politicians call on unemployed not to buy fireworks

Published: 31 Dec 2010 10:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 31 Dec 2010 10:35 GMT+01:00

Two politicians have caused outrage in Berlin by demanding that recipients of the unemployment benefit known as Hartz IV not waste their money on fireworks.

Germans usually spend over €100 million on fireworks in the three days leading up to the New Year. Although there are no statistics on how much of this cash is unemployment benefit, two Berlin politicians decided to give those on welfare some end-of-year advice.

"Unemployment benefit, which is paid by the state, should not be blown on rockets and bangers," Cornelia Seibeld of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) told Berlin newspaper B.Z..

This came in reaction to reports from shopkeepers that some welfare recipients were spending up to €150 on fireworks, nearly half of the monthly Hartz IV payment of €359.

Björn Jotzo of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) told the spendthrifts, "It would make more sense if they invested in a balanced diet, instead of bangers," before adding, "But some Hartz IV recipients are spending a lot of money on fireworks, even though they should be more frugal."

But the pair stopped short of calling for a ban on unemployed people buying fireworks. "Such a ban would not be enforceable, the bureaucratic complexity would be too big," said Seibeld. "A voluntary abstention would make more sense."

Benefit recipients interviewed by the paper were unimpressed by the suggestion they should let those with a job have all the fun. "I saved the money ahead of time," said 18-year-old Mostafa Khodr, who spent €80 on fireworks this year. "And I'm not going to let anyone tell me what to spend it on."

Single mum Sylvia Demski agreed, "My sons deserve a bit of New Year's fun, and they shouldn't have to go without just because I'm unemployed."

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Your comments about this article

11:07 December 31, 2010 by jmic9889
Typical Germans meddling in the public's business...Instead of telling the unemployed what they should and shouldn't buy, assure them that they will NOT get any benefit raises in the future! So go ahead, buy the fireworks and let your money go out with a big BAM......But when it's alle, it's alle!
11:18 December 31, 2010 by twisted
sorry but it makes sense to me....why should taxpayer money be used for such frivolous (not to mention dangerous) items. personally, I would like to see welfare recipients receive some sort of voucher or debit type card rather than cash which could only be used to buy things necessary for day to day living. Certainly not all but far too much welfare money is wasted by the recipients buying booze, and other worthless items.
11:40 December 31, 2010 by storymann
I am sure that will stop the recipients of unemployment benefits from buying fireworks on the one night they can legally do it...What BS. ,like their 5 year olds.
12:27 December 31, 2010 by tallady
Chocky,,thats the risk,,but this is Socialism "Genosse"
12:54 December 31, 2010 by tomjack
After reading on here about someone losing a hand whilest lighting a firecracker

maybe politicians should concentrate on giving out some real instructions.

I mean have you seen the price tag on some of these things all them Euro's going for a bang how mad is that Money! is something you will never recycle.
13:18 December 31, 2010 by tomjack
Chocky I can see your point poor people will spend money on food before fireworks maybe the politicians should stop using the unemployed as Scapegoats and start creating jobs not ending them.
13:26 December 31, 2010 by tallady
@Rimini,,that is refreshing,,I agree,,being on Hartz lV is not punishment.. A little fun in the life of an individual or family should not be legislated or demanded away

because they receive benefits from a "SOCIAL" system.

I for see a family standing on the curb with their heads down and a Hartz lV,badge on their chest ,and other children asking why they have no fireworks (:>
13:57 December 31, 2010 by J-Dub
Merkel and Westerwelle get driven around and flown all over the world. Taxpayers pay for this. How is this any different from someone receiving Hartz IV and blowing it up in the sky? If Merkel and Westerwelle want to get diarrhea of the mouth about Hartz IV people, how about paying for their own fuel costs and driving themselves first! These clown politicians are always ready to reap and sow all they can while they are in office, but eager to bash those who can't find employment. If you want people to be employed, then how about offering them some chance at education FIRST. Imagine that these politicians have hired workers to drive them, do not have to pay expensive fuel prices, and eat like royalty. Don't forget that it is the TAXPAYER paying for ALL of this. So Frau Merkel and Mr. Westerwelle can STFU!
14:33 December 31, 2010 by garryq
With a CDU politician complaining about misuse of public funds, does anyone have a link to the stories about the CDU in NRW being fined for illegal use of the public subsidy they receive?
15:12 December 31, 2010 by Joshontour
If all their bills are paid and they have money left over for entertainment; what is the problem?
17:09 December 31, 2010 by luckycusp
The money they receive isnt going to increase or decrease. Who cares what they do with it.

The politicians probably just gave a tip, that be careful how u spend the money in your hand and maybe save some of it (there arent any raises planned for near future!).

Btw, the two Hartz IV recipients mentioned in the articles, the names dont sound very 'German'... Make of it what u want??!!
18:31 December 31, 2010 by MonkeyMania
Let them eat cake.
19:29 December 31, 2010 by xx.weirich.xx
I agree with these two 100%, but I would take it a step further to completely eliminating fireworks. In the state I live in, some of the bigger ones are outlawed unless a trained professional is using them(not that this is a totally bad idea), but a lot of people still bring them in from across the state line anyway. I myself don't see what is so great about them. They're loud, smell bad, extremely dangerous, and the lights they create are so short they can hardly be "enjoyed." Around the fourth of July and whenever there is a football game- even if our team loses- I can expect a lot of noise, and not getting enough sleep. I don't see how this is fair to me, or anyone else that might want to sleep before two or three AM.
22:04 December 31, 2010 by LancashireLad
This is yet another example of Germans letting logic and efficiency encroach on human life and interaction where it actually has no place.
07:39 January 1, 2011 by Aussiemate
Hi There,

I am from Melbourne, Australia. Here it is illegal to buy fireworks except in our 'territories' - ACT and Northern Territory. Under state (Victoria) regulations, however it is illegal to posses or use them, offenders face penalties of up to $40,000 and jail.

This is good because we don't get morons blowing their fingers and hands off etc.

Also, we call unemployment benefit 'the dole'. You can spend your dole on anything, but there is a push now to make it mandatory to spend most of it on food and other essentials.

You can also get a supplementary 'food voucher', but it can't be spent on 'luxuries' which include things like chocolate etc.

Which as a taxpayer I totally agree with!

Cheers and I love Germany :o)
07:40 January 1, 2011 by Johnne
Comminists telling citizens how to spend their money.
10:41 January 1, 2011 by catjones
I guess the real question is: should there be any restrictions on how Hartz money is spent?

Should that money be treated no different than income earned from a job?
12:57 January 1, 2011 by Al uk
Indeed, buy them on your expense account (see most parliaments for details)
20:48 January 1, 2011 by wenddiver
Why not give the poor jobs making fireworks, so you don't have to get them from China?
01:23 January 2, 2011 by Prufrock2010
I agree that those low income people are a problem. First its Hartz IV then its firecrackers. This is the slippery slope of the nanny welfare state. Firecrackers are the gateway drug to improvise explosive devices, all at taxpayers expense. The liberals are destroying this country. If the Hartz IV people dont want to work they shouldn't be allowed to make bombs on the taxpayers money. Thats just logical.
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