Germany poised to increase child benefit to €250 'from next year'
As part of its energy relief package, the German government has agreed to increase child benefits by more than expected for the first, second and third child in the family.
Under plans agreed by the traffic-light coalition parties, families are set to receive €250 per month for their first and second child and €275 per month for their third child from January 2023.
This marks an increase of €31 per month for the first and second child, and an increase of €25 for the third child. Child benefit for any additional children will remain unchanged at €250 per month.
"I'm glad that we have succeeded in providing much more relief for families and in increasing child benefits once again," Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) told DPA on Thursday.
She said families with children had suffered more from inflation, especially the increase in rent, food and energy costs, since they often have to spend more on their living costs than households without children.
According to DPA sources, the opposition CDU/CSU parties are also supporting the plans to relieve families in light of the higher cost of living.
The proposals will be voted on in the Bundestag on Thursday before being put to a vote in the Bundesrat (upper house of parliament) on Friday.
'Largest increase in history'
The governing Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) had initially set their sights on a much more modest increase to child benefits.
Under the previous plans laid out in the second energy relief package, families with up to three children were set to receive €237 per child per month. This represents an increase of €18 per child for the first two children and €12 for the third.
Speaking to DPA on Thursday, Rolf Mützenich, the chairman of the SPD parliamentary fraction, said the government had decided to go "one step further" in order to offer more tangible relief for low- and middle-income families.
The move was also hailed as the "largest increase to child benefits in the history of Germany" by FDP parliamentary group vice-chairman Christoph Meyer.
He said that ensuring families had more money in their pockets at the end of the month was a priority for the traffic-light coalition.
Basic child allowance
In their coalition pact agreed last November, the traffic-light parties set out plans to reform the benefits system for families and introduce a 'basic child allowance' to replace child benefits.
This would see multiple forms of social support for families bundled into one.
It would also guarantee a basic monthly stipend for all children and young people, regardless of their family's income. However, people on lower incomes would be eligible for additional financial support.
Andreas Audretsch, the vice-chairman of the Greens, said the hike in child benefits was a "step in the right direction" towards the implementation of the basic allowance.
Currently, the traffic-light coalition intends to roll out the new system by 2025, but has not released details of how much families will be entitled to.
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