Finance Minister Christian Lindner wants to increase the child allowance. The SPD and the Greens say: Only if child benefit also increases. In the interview, FDP parliamentary group deputy Gyde Jensen defends her party leader – and calls for an end to the coalition dispute.
Ms. Jensen, your party colleague and Finance Minister Christian Lindner would like to increase the child allowance, from which parents with high incomes benefit – that Child benefit but should not rise. Is that fair?
It is always one of the biggest challenges for politicians to find the fairest and most balanced solution possible in view of different life situations – and therefore also different socio-economic factors. Of course, every child must be worth the same to the state, regardless of their parents’ home. This is easiest to implement in kindergartens, schools and training facilities. However, the current debate about increasing the tax allowance is about something different.
What is it about?
The child allowance is legally linked to the subsistence level, which is regularly checked. We as Free Democrats did not come up with this, it is a mandate from the Federal Constitutional Court. The subsistence minimum must be tax-free. If it has to be increased due to inflation, the child allowance must follow suit. As Federal Minister, Christian Lindner is implementing a constitutional mandate.
And child benefit doesn’t have to be adjusted to the high inflation?
We already did this disproportionately a year and a half ago. Everyone in the coalition – SPD, Greens and FDP – had agreed to specifically provide relief to families because of the increased prices. At that time we increased the child benefit from 219 to 250 euros per child per month. This increase has never occurred before in German history. It’s a real success that we managed to do this.
It is irresponsible to convince people that they are deliberately being treated unfairly
SPD and that’s not enough for the Greens. The coalition partners are demanding more.
I find it anything but wise that the SPD and the Greens are now staging a fundamental debate on justice in an already tense budget situation in the country because of the increase in the tax allowance. It is irresponsible to convince people that they are deliberately being treated unfairly. Once again they are distancing themselves from coalition agreements. The next subsistence level report will come in autumn. Then we will talk about child benefit again.
Nevertheless, the impression again arises that the FDP is particularly committed to the interests of high-earning parents.
You can have this impression, but it is fundamentally wrong. Again: Christian Lindner only implements what the Constitutional Court demands of him. I find it fatal that we always have to defend ourselves against this accusation. We are committed to ensuring that the promise of advancement can be better fulfilled in Germany. Those for whom the top tax rate already applies are certainly not the top earners in this country.
To from Child allowance To benefit more than from 250 euros in child benefit, parents must collectively earn at least 93,600 euros per year. The relief for these high earners costs the state 380 million euros. Is this really still the right prioritization in times of a budget debate in which the FDP is constantly talking about savings?
That’s not the only relief that we as a coalition have achieved. As of January 1, 2024, we have relieved the middle of society by a total of 15 billion euros. In early autumn 2022, we not only increased child benefit, but also raised the child allowance to 250 euros. This provides additional support to parents who go to work but whose salary is not enough to adequately provide for their family. We as the FDP demanded this increase – and implemented it together.
Public disputes cost time, energy and the focus on what is possible.
However, the noble resolutions for a better traffic light coexistence in the new year already seem to be over.
I am also surprised that we now have to have this debate again in public. I can only invite our coalition partners to make progress on the issues that we are currently negotiating and that we have agreed upon. In the meeting rooms that we have provided for this purpose. This applies to the next step in the Bafög reform and in particular to basic child welfare.
How does the new dispute affect the negotiations on basic child welfare?
With basic child security, we want to transform social and family policy benefits so that they are clearer, less bureaucratic and more digital. When SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich now wishes that child benefit should be fundamentally reformed, he completely ignores what a reform of basic child welfare can achieve. For us as the FDP, basic child security would be an important first step in bundling family policy benefits.
And that’s why we’re only fighting behind closed doors now?
Public disputes cost time, energy and the focus on what is possible. We were elected for political solutions, not for intra-coalition disputes.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.