1 in 3 jobseekers 'can't afford enough food'

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1 in 3 jobseekers 'can't afford enough food'
People outside a Jobcenter in Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Photo: DPA

One-third of unemployed people in Germany are unable to afford a square meal at least once every two days, figures from the Federal Office of Statistics showed on Monday.


The figures, released in response to a question from the Linke (Left Party) in the Bundestag (German parliament), show that 1.07 million people are struggling to feed themselves while on unemployment support.

That number had risen by 48,000 over the past year, according to the figures from government statistics agency Destatis.

What's more, one in five unemployed people had difficulty meeting their rent payments or bills for basic utilities.

And 18 percent of those receiving "Hartz IV" unemployment benefits were unable to heat their home adequately.

Overall, 30.9 percent of jobseekers in Germany were suffering from "serious material deprivation" last year.

That number is significantly higher than the European average of 26.2 percent.

"Our safety net in case of unemployment is getting increasingly fragile and weak," Linke deputy leader in the Bundestag Sabine Zimmermann told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.

She argued that the so-called Hartz reforms carried out under former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the early 2000s had "rounded down the subsistence level" and called for the government to increase monthly unemployment benefits, known as Hartz IV, to €500.


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