Germany to cut support services for long-term jobseekers

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Germany to cut support services for long-term jobseekers
The hallway of the jobcentre in Düsseldorf. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

Germany plans to slash funding for services that help the unemployed get back into the world of work.


In the draft budget passed by the cabinet last week, the government earmarked €163 billion for the Ministry for Labour in total - the largest allocation of spending in any ministry.

However, though the overall amount spent in this department was €2 billion higher than last year, the so-called "benefits for integration into employment" will be cut from €4.8 billion to €4.2 billion.

The benefits for integration into employment are designed to ease to the transition from long-term unemployment into full-time work. The budget is used to finance wage subsidies for employers who hire the long-term unemployed, in addition to services like addiction counselling and debt advice.

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Having lifted caps on borrowing during the Covid crisis, Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is keen to reinstate them next year under a policy known as the 'debt brake'.

This year, Germany has taken on around €140 billion in new debt to assist with the fallout from the Ukraine war and energy crisis, but Lindner is eyeing a more fiscally conservative approach in 2023. 

Both the opposition CDU/CSU and the Left Party responded furiously to the cuts, describing the some €600 million in savings from the jobseekers' budget as "social austerity". 

Jessica Tatti, the Left's social policy spokesperson, told Spiegel that the changes would make it more difficult for the long-term unemployed to integrate into society and to participate in society.

"It is not surprising that the Federal Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner, is making cuts to long-term unemployment benefits in order to comply with the debt brake," Tatti said. "If the SPD and the Greens go along with this, however, they'll lose the last vestige of social credibility they have." 


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