Suspend the debt brake in a targeted manner: SME boss calls for gas surcharge

Suspend the debt brake in a targeted manner
SME boss calls for gas surcharge

According to the head of German medium-sized companies, companies and consumers will hardly benefit from the gas surcharge. Therefore, the federal government must stop them. On the other hand, the debt brake should be relaxed, but with clear guidelines.

Because of the energy crisis, the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW) is pushing for the gas surcharge to be dispensed with. “We have repeatedly listed the various shortcomings of the introduction of a gas levy, particularly from the point of view of medium-sized companies,” said Markus Jerger, Managing Director of the association, to the “Handelsblatt”. He welcomed the fact that Finance Minister Christian Lindner questioned the levy.

“Finally, the federal government now seems to be coming to terms with the fact that such an instrument does more harm than good,” Jerger told the newspaper. Reason must now quickly find its way into the political discussion. “The price of gas must fall and not be artificially inflated.” Jerger added, with a view to the planned nationalization of the large gas importer Uniper, that it was impossible to explain to anyone why consumers should pay for a soon-to-be nationalized company.

Businesses and households in the country needed affordable gas. Many medium-sized companies and households are already up to their necks in water. “More and more sectors are therefore resigned and disappointed by the lack of orientation on the part of many politicians,” Jerger told the “Handelsblatt”.

With new debt only make investments

The BVMW federal manager was open to a further suspension of the debt brake. “The German economy must survive this unprecedented endurance test of the energy price crisis and emerge stronger from it,” he said. “If this requires a tightly limited easing of the debt brake by another year, we will support it.” However, additional borrowing must be linked to the condition of supporting public and private investments.

The gas surcharge is supposed to be introduced on October 1st. Private households and companies should pay them to support energy companies that are now having to buy more expensively in other markets because of the Russian gas outage. However, the federal government is still examining whether the levy after Uniper’s nationalization is constitutionally permissible at all.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck had expressed doubts here. At the weekend, Lindner also said that in view of the additional costs for citizens and companies, the “economic question of meaning” arises. SPD leader Saskia Esken expects the levy to end this week, as she said on Sunday evening on ARD.

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