Energy – Hanover – Campaign for hardship funds and energy price caps – Economy

Hanover (dpa/lni) – The Lower Saxony State Poverty Conference (LAK) and various social organizations want to warn this Monday at the Ministry of Finance in Hanover of the growing risk of poverty due to the rise in energy prices. Rapid political agreements are needed, above all to set up an aid fund for hardship cases in which people on low incomes are overwhelmed by increased gas and electricity prices, said LAK Managing Director Klaus-Dieter Gleitze in advance of the German Press Agency. The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and several of its individual members also see an urgent need for action.

The “Hunger or Freeze” rally is scheduled to begin around noon. In the case of summer temperatures, the participants symbolically want to dress thickly and protest against blanket solutions with watering cans. “Subsidies such as the tank discount, from which everyone – including those with high incomes – benefit are nonsense from our point of view,” said Gleitze. “We need targeted help for people with little money. There are people who find this energy crisis annoying – but there are also those for whom it is a threat to their existence.” Among other things, Caritas also wants to take part in the campaign.

Considerations for emergency or hardship funds are also an issue in other countries. Gleitze spoke out in favor of equipping such a fund in Lower Saxony with around one billion euros. “That’s why we’re going to the Ministry of Finance.” The debt brake must be temporarily suspended – the current special situation requires that the state must be able to take out additional loans if necessary. The state government is already discussing the hardship fund. How this could be set up exactly and how much money is involved is not yet known.

LAK and DGB are also demanding a moratorium on energy cuts and evictions. “No one should lose their accommodation this winter because of energy prices,” said Gleitze. He also supported the proposal for an energy price cap. The state must also be prepared to take money into its own hands – if necessary to save small, municipal suppliers, such as Uniper on a larger scale.

“During the Corona crisis, politicians unpacked the bazooka for several companies, and Tui was finally saved,” says Gleitze. “But what’s really more systemically relevant here for the majority of people? Energy and housing are really about basic services.”

DGB head of state Mehrdad Payandeh recently warned: “Many people in Lower Saxony will not be able to cope with an additional burden of several hundred euros a month on their own. The federal, state and local authorities must avert the impending social collapse.” The state working group for non-statutory welfare reported that the counseling centers were being visited more and more frequently.

“We are in a unique socio-political situation,” said Gleitze, referring to the inflation in energy commodities and rents that are often high at the same time. “Many people are afraid of what they could expect financially in the winter and next year. It’s a threat that goes right into the middle of society.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220808-99-311267/2

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