Economy

Verdi boss demands consumer checks and gives a handsome sum

  • How does Germany get its economy up and running again? Verdi boss Frank Werneke has many suggestions.
  • One idea is called consumer checks. Citizens could receive up to 500 euros in shopping money, he told the Handelsblatt.
  • Werneke, on the other hand, doesn’t think much of a classic car premium. His proposal would also favor local public transport and e-bikes.

Which measure will get the German economy up and running again? Frank Werneke, chairman of the German service union Verdi, has many ideas. One of them: consumer checks, i.e. money for shopping. Werneke is participating in a video conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel this Monday with other trade unionists and business associations.

“Because shops, restaurants and cultural institutions are slowly opening again, now is the time to talk about consumer checks,” the Verdi boss told the “Handelsblatt”. He also brought in quite a substantial sum: 500 euros, at least for low and medium incomes. With higher earnings, the amount should melt “so that the financial dimension does not become too large”.

Verdi boss wants mobility instead of car premium

The concept is controversial. On the one hand, a consumer check would be expensive for the state and would consume several billion euros. On the other hand, economists doubt that a check actually makes citizens much more interested in shopping. They point out that it is not necessarily a lack of purchasing power, but the continuing fear of corona infection and newly introduced hurdles such as the requirement to wear a mask would spoil the business.

Read also: Off to return to normality: Movement data show that the German retail trade is facing a completely different fate this year

In any case, the German auto industry would prefer a different premium. It calls for government funding to buy new cars. Werneke doesn’t think much of that. “On the other hand, we are to prefer a mode of transport and to support with thousands of euros,” he told the “Handelsblatt”. “Instead, we want a mobility premium roughly equivalent to a job ticket, which can then be used for local public transport, an e-bike, a bicycle, or even the purchase of an electric car.”

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