• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Ex-family ministers: child care cash humiliating

The Local · 30 Aug 2012, 08:31

Published: 30 Aug 2012 08:31 GMT+02:00

“We are speaking up because we are worried,” wrote former ministers Rita Süssmuth, Ursula Lehr, Christine Bergmann and Renate Schmidt in a joint statement in Thursday’s Die Zeit newspaper.

Süssmuth and Lehr are both members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union – as is the current minister Kristina Schröder, while Bergmann and Schmidt belong to the opposition Social Democrats.

Schröder has championed the plan to pay €150 a month to parents who keep their children between two and three at home, saying it will give people greater choice while simultaneously relieving some of the pressure on local authorities to provide day care places.

A law requiring the provision of day care for all children between the ages of one and three whose parents wants it, takes effect in August 2013, although at least 130,000 places are yet to be created.

Yet there is widespread concern that the payment scheme would increase the pressure on women to stay at home rather than return to work – and that this would be felt the most in families whose children who would particularly benefit from day care.

The former ministers said the idea was “structurally ineffective, humiliating and discriminating against women, as it is nothing more than monthly pocket money.”

They said the idea created the danger that mothers with low levels of education would no longer register their children at day care.

“Particularly considering the foreseeable insufficient expansion of day care places for children under three, it would make more sense for the money planned for child care payments to be invested in this area,” they said. The government should scrap the idea they said.

Yet Schröder’s spokesman said the discussion was effectively over. “Everything has been said, and by everyone,” he said. Schröder had made her considered position on child care payments and the expansion of day care facilities clear. It was also obvious, “that the coming year must become the year of day care expansion,” he said.

Story continues below…

The government intends to get the child care payment scheme passed by parliament in September so that it can be paid to parents from 2013. It is a particular favourite of the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s CDU, the Christian Social Union, which says it would serve to strengthen families.

Many within the CDU and coalition partner the Free Democrats are opposed, while the Social Democrats have promised to challenge it as far as the Constitutional Court.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Govt argues over using army inside Germany
Photo: DPA

After a string of violent rampages in one week, an argument has broken out in Germany’s coalition government over whether the army (Bundeswehr) should be deployed inside the country.

Analysis
How Merkel reacts to crises better than other leaders
Photo: DPA

It is of critical importance for a country how a leader chooses to react to an act of terrorism. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cool head sets an example for the rest of the country.

Turkey demands Germany extradite Gülen supporters
Fethullah Gülen. Photo: DPA

Ankara called on Germany on Thursday to extradite supporters of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of plotting a failed coup earlier this month.

German police raid 'hotbed of radicalization'
Police entering one of the residences. Photo: DPA

A mosque and eight residences were searched.

Germany boasts Europe's best value beaches
This beach just got named Europe's cheapest. Do you know where it is? Photo: DPA

Forget Mallorca or the Costa del Sol - the best beach bargains can be found in Germany. But where?

After rampages, Merkel says again: Wir schaffen das
Photo: DPA

Speaking for the first time after a Syrian refugee blew himself up in southern Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to helping refugees on Thursday.

The Local List
Germany's five most mind-boggling conspiracy theories
What's the point of this mysterious tower at Tempelhof Airport? Photo: DPA.

Think that wacky paranoid types only exist in the USA? Here’s a few crazy German conspiracies to prove you wrong.

Munich shooting
Gunman's friend arrested for 'planning school attack'
File photo: DPA

Police found chemicals and instructions for making explosives, as well as evacuation plans of his school in the youth's possession.

Bremen mall evacuated due to escaped psychiatric patient
Police outside the mall. Photo: DPA

The man had reportedly made worrying statements relating to Isis and last week's shooting in Munich.

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

The Turkish government has been giving German ambassador Martin Erdmann the cold shoulder for weeks, after German parliamentarians passed a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,746
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd