Erfurt/Neudietendorf (dpa/th) - SPD state leader Georg Maier calls for another relief package - also for pensioners and for recipients of student loans and basic security. "The dramatic increase in poverty in our country" requires urgent, decisive action, Maier said on Thursday. Rising food and energy prices hit this group hard. Measures must be targeted precisely at those most in need.
In particular, foreseeable high ancillary cost back payments and further increases in electricity prices are worrying. "It shouldn't be the case that people who are in default because of this lose their roof over their heads or have their electricity turned off. We have to start discussing effective state aid measures now," Maier said, picking up on the tenor of his party general secretary, Kevin Kühnert. This wants to ban energy cuts for the winter.
The Thuringia Parity Welfare Association welcomed the demands. Hardship funds could be a first bridge. However, there is still a need for reform of the basic security for job seekers and people who are temporarily unable to work, as well as in BAföG.
"It is important to have a dialogue with energy companies about social solutions and support options," said Managing Director Stefan Werner. The energy companies should also be obliged to advise their consumers and to develop solution models for cases of hardship. "People affected by poverty must not be left alone now."
According to a report by the association on Wednesday, the proportion of poor people in Thuringia continued to rise in the second year of Corona and in the wake of inflation. In Thuringia around 400,000 people are poor.
The deputy parliamentary group leader and socio-political spokeswoman for the left-wing parliamentary group, Karola Stange, called it "an alarming development". The figures did not yet reflect the effects of the Ukraine war. This suggests that there is a considerable number of unreported cases of those affected by poverty. In addition to the relief measures that have been decided, she called for increased social benefits of 200 euros per month. These could cushion increased costs. It also needs "the immediate introduction of basic child security to finally relieve families".
Thuringia's Energy Minister Anja Siegesmund (Greens) said: "For remaining cases of hardship, we need solutions beyond power cuts - that also worked during the corona pandemic." At the federal level, another relief package for lower and middle incomes and pensioners should be put together as soon as possible.