Cabinet approves heating cost support for poor households
Der Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire
Low-income households will receive a one-off heating cost allowance by the state, the German government cabinet has decided. In a response to rising prices for heating oil and gas, consumers who receive housing benefits or student/trainee support will get between 115 and 175 euros, to be paid out in summer when many households will face bills reflecting the higher prices, Der Spiegel reports. The government’s proposal has now been passed to the coalition parties in parliament where the necessary legislation will have to be passed. According to the buildings ministry, 1.6 million people are to benefit from the subsidy, including 370,000 students. The measure will cost the state nearly 190 million euros.
Consumer association VZBV criticised the amount for being too low as they had recently called for help of at least 500 euros per household. Opposition party CSU said the allowance would not even cover half of the needs of a family with two children. Green Party MP Julia Verlinden said it was important to support the households in need but that ultimately Germany needed to reduce its dependence on coal, oil and gas as quickly as possible as “fossil energies are an unpredictable price driver”. Europe has seen unprecedented hikes in gas and electricity prices over the past year, in large parts caused by a gas supply crisis.