The existing obligation to wear masks has been toughened: Henceforth, “clinical masks” (surgical masks or masks of the KN95 or FFP2 standard) will be mandatory on public transport and in shops. Simple everyday masks are no longer enough/Photo: AfricanCourierMedia

Group demands Hartz IV increase because of Corona pandemic

In view of the Corona pandemic, a broad alliance of 36 trade unions and social associations is demanding an increase in the standard rates of Hartz IV and basic old-age security to at least 600 euros as well as immediate additional assistance for poor people.

The signatories of the letter to the federal government, calling for increased social support for the vulnerable, include the trade union verdi, the trade union for education and science, the Awo, the social association VdK and the Diakonie. The Hartz IV standard rate for single people has been 446 euros since 1 January. Couples receive 401 euros per partner.

“We must not allow socially disadvantaged people to be further marginalised in the Corona pandemic,” said the President of the German Social Association, Adolf Bauer.

In addition to the increase to 600 euros, the alliance “Emergency aid for the poor – now!” demands a “flat-rate additional needs supplement” of 100 euros for the duration of the Corona crisis.

All children and young people in low-income families should receive hardware and software as well as other learning materials that are necessary for the use of the digital educational offers of the schools.

In addition, the alliance calls for protection against eviction for tenants “to ensure that no one loses their home due to pandemic-related loss of income”.

The call has received support from the deputy leader of the SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Katja Mast. The Corona pandemic and its consequences “hit the most vulnerable the hardest”, Mast said. The SPD had therefore made proposals for increased public support.

Specifically, she mentioned a proposal by Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) for a financial supplement for aid recipients to be able to buy the surgical or FFP2 masks now required in some areas of life. On 14 January, the federal and state governments adopted several additional measures including the extension of the lockdown in Germany to 31 January. The existing obligation to wear masks was toughened. “Clinical masks” (surgical masks or masks of the KN95 or FFP2 standard) are now mandatory on public transport and in shops..

Sola Jolaoso

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