The SPD wants to reform the child allowance system: at least 250 euros per child, an income-based payout and a “participation account” for the children. However, CDU/CSU are unlikely to be onboard with these changes.
The SPD wants to decide on a concept for a reformed child allowance at its party conference in December. This was announced by provisional party leader Malu Dreyer. “We want to provide a cash benefit that bundles all previous family benefits.”
Income-dependent allowance level
Today, every fifth child in Germany is affected by poverty, Dreyer said. “We want a change to the system.” The child benefits would then be tied to the income situation of the parents. “The poorer the family, the higher the cash benefit will be.” The monthly base amount would be 250 euros, the maximum amount for children 14 years and older would be 478 euros.
The SPD also wants to introduce a “participation account” in the form of a children’s card with 30 euros per month. This would give children the opportunity “to go to a sports club, music school or swimming pool – regardless of their parents’ wallet,” Dreyer explained. In addition, the SPD wants free day-care centers throughout Germany, free all-day offers for school children, and free travel by bus and train for all children.
Under the new plans, the tax exemption for dependent children is also to change – the tax advantage of the allowances is to be reduced to a maximum of 250 euros per child.
Plan would cost 11bn
Dreyer estimated the costs at eleven billion euros. On the question of how to finance it, she said: “We have to have money for this sort of thing. We will have it. In a rich country like Germany it cannot be that so many children live in poverty. We are as determined about this as we were about the minimum wage and the basic pension in the past,” announced the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Implementation in Grand Coalition unlikely
Dreyer and Family Minister Franziska Giffey want to officially present the SPD’s anti-child poverty concept on Monday. As the SPD is repositioning itself programmatically, Dreyer, however, has no hope that the concept can be implemented in the Grand Coalition. “The expectation that we would be able to implement everything one-to-one in this coalition would be unrealistic,” Dreyer said. “But I am sure that we will fight for basic child protection in every new coalition.”
The SPD will meet for its federal party conference in Berlin from 6 to 8 December. The delegates’ meeting will focus on the election of a new party leadership, which is currently being determined by a party-wide vote.