MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Mister President! Dear Colleagues! Ladies and gentlemen! The 2021 draft budget for labor and social affairs that we are debating here today is an important contribution to cushioning the current and expected negative effects of the corona crisis that has existed since spring and at the same time to continue the successful modernization policy of the coalition.
After a decade of economic upswing, the economy and society have got into difficult waters due to Corona. After the first signs of recovery in summer, the situation worsened by Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and the prime ministers of the federal states imposed lockdown on the economic situation since the beginning of November. Our social life is severely restricted. It is not going well economically, on the training and labor market. The brief economic recovery of the summer was interrupted. The current extension of the corona restrictions until the new year continues to worsen the outlook. It almost seems as if our society is in danger of drifting apart.
Against this background, on the basis of the federal government’s draft budget for the coming year, which was presented late in the year, we have set some necessary accents in the deliberations of the past few weeks, especially in the area of pension insurance, labor market policy and in the training area. The expenditures planned in the first government draft, which were already 21 billion euros above the expenditures planned a year ago, were increased for the coming year by almost 1 billion euros to 165 billion euros in the field of labor and social affairs alone. In this way, we want to contribute to keeping the damage that has occurred and that will continue to occur as small as possible for those affected.
Ladies and gentlemen, the excesses result essentially from increases in the rate of the federal government’s contribution to the costs of accommodation and heating. Here, the federal government is increasingly assuming purely communal tasks and obligations to provide services for the socially needy. In the case of unemployment benefit II, in view of the deteriorating prospects on the labor market, but also because of legal changes, another 300 million euros had to be added. In anticipation of the increased use of short-time allowance in the coming year, we have increased the subsidy provided by the federal government to the Federal Employment Agency by 250 million euros. The expenditures for labor market policy services and programs as well as for the subsidy to the Federal Employment Agency total 48.8 billion euros.
Fortunately, our job market is currently still relatively stable despite the sometimes considerable economic slumps. Although the number of unemployed is around half a million higher than in the previous year, and the number of short-time workers is likely to be significantly higher than the 2.2 million in September, the demand for workers increased from April until the beginning of the new lockdown November noticeably recovered.
It is currently not foreseeable what consequences will arise in view of the new restrictions for employees in the sectors that are particularly affected anyway, such as hotels, restaurants, training and culture or the service sector as a whole and also in the ailing manufacturing sector. However, after reports of layoffs and bankruptcies in the industrial sector and the first insolvencies of larger service providers, reports of extensive production relocations abroad are evident, particularly in the automotive sector. Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel has already spoken several times of a shift in the economic balance of power due to the corona crisis at the expense of Europe and in favor of China and Southeast Asia.
The question then arises as to whether we can survive the corona crisis as well as the 2009 financial crisis or how we can best manage it. With the short-time work allowance, we have so far managed to cushion the worst consequences in some areas. But short-time allowance is not a business model, and it is certainly not financially sustainable from empty public coffers with considerable new government debt. Prosperity is generated by high-performing workers in productive jobs, not through the payment of wage replacement benefits.
(Otto Fricke [FDP]: Very true!)
Ladies and gentlemen, in view of the considerable current threat and undermining of large parts of the economic base of our community, our main focus must therefore be in particular on securing jobs and training positions. It would be fatal if, after the current training year 2020, which is still going well, young people could not start training in 2021 due to the reluctance of companies for economic reasons.
The current rise in the number of youth unemployed is a clear warning signal. We absolutely have to avoid that a young corona generation is now deprived of chances in life through missed lessons, avoidable emotional-social burdens or a lack of jobs or apprenticeship positions and thus becomes an additional significant burden for our community.
I therefore expressly welcome the Federal Government’s initiative to secure training positions. Since August of this year, small and medium-sized enterprises have been helped with their training commitment with training bonuses, takeover bonuses and grants. Around 20,000 premium and 900 grant applications have been approved so far. It is to be hoped that with entrepreneurial will and the program “Secure apprenticeships” it will be possible to secure apprenticeship positions for the skilled workers of the future in medium-sized businesses as the heart of our economy. Only together can we work successfully on a good future for our country.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to conclude with a word on the development of integration titles for the long-term unemployed. It is correct that the overall budget for the integration of the long-term unemployed remains constant at a little more than 10 billion euros. With additional funds of up to over 1 billion euros, we want to use a holistic approach to pave the way for the long-term unemployed to enter the labor market. The funds have so far proven to be adequate.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who helped to get this budget off the ground, especially Ekin Deligöz as the main rapporteur and the co-rapporteurs Michael Groß, Ulrike Schielke-Ziesing, Gesine Lötzsch and Otto Fricke. It was an excellent collaboration with good content. My thanks also go to the ministry and the Federal Employment Agency. I look forward to further cooperation in the coming year.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and MPs from the SPD and MP Otto Fricke [FDP])
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.