Scholz to raise permitted personal savings for Hartz IV

German Employment Minister Olaf Scholz announced Sunday he intends to raise the permitted limit of personal savings for people receiving unemployment benefit Hartz IV.

Scholz to raise permitted personal savings for Hartz IV
Photo: DPA

“We have to give people on Hartz IV the security of protecting their retirement provisions,” he said in an interview for the newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “Any capital that is intended as retirement provision and leads to an irrevocable pension supplement should be protected,” he added.

Scholz, of the Social Democrat party (SPD), said he wanted to get the new ruling through parliament before the general election on September 27, and called on his party’s grand coalition partners, the Christian Democrats (CDU), to support his proposal.

In a statement expected to put pressure on the ruling CDU ahead of the election, Scholz said that many CDU politicians seemed to be in favour of extending the personal savings limit, and the CDU’s election manifesto also seemed to support it.

“That’s why I expect a majority for my very concrete proposal. If everyone is in favour, we can get it through before the election,” he told the newspaper.

Leftist opposition party Die Linke described Scholz’s suggestion as “a campaign gag.” Die Linke’s acting chairman Klaus Ernst pointed out that the SPD had voted against raising the limit on July 2, though he said he did support Scholz’s proposal himself.

The Linke politician claimed that the SPD had long since forfeited its credibility when it came to social policy. He accused the Social Democrats of demanding social improvements “even though the leadership is well aware it cannot realise them with the CDU, the pro-business FDP or the Greens.”

“It is attempted election deceit,” he said.

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