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MPs call for hike in commuter allowance

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MPs call for hike in commuter allowance
Photo: DPA
08:57 CEST+02:00
Amid rising petrol prices, a cross-party group of MPs is calling for a hike in the Pendlerpauschale commuter allowance, which lets German workers write off travel costs on their tax.

Karl Holmeier, deputy chairman of the conservatives' employees group in the Bundestag, told daily Mitteldeutsche Zeitung that commuters needed to be relieved from higher fuel prices.

Members of the centre-left opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the socialist Left party joined the call, though the environmentalist Greens oppose such a raise.

Holmeier, of the Bavarian conservative Christian Social Union, said the cost could be offset by the extra VAT that the government was now raking in on the higher cost of petrol.

“When the petrol price climbs by 10 cents, the government takes 1.9 cents per litre in extra VAT,” he said. “We should put this money back into the commuter allowance.”

He added that the competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, had to act against possible price-fixing by fuel companies.

The economic policy spokesman for the SPD's parliamentary group, Garrelt Duin, backed the call for a higher allowance and demanded the government to put forward a comprehensive package to ease transport costs.

Left party chief Klaus Ernst has previously called for a raise in the Pendlerpauschale from the present 30 cents to 45 cents per kilometre.

But the Greens parliamentary group leader Bärbel Höhn told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that a rise in the allowance could encourage fuel companies to further manipulate prices.

DAPD/The Local/djw

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