Spending cuts are needed to secure Germany’s economic recovery, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday as she debated the country’s budget for next year.
The far-left Die Linke party dismissed Merkel’s claims, saying her planned 80 billion euros of savings will hurt the poor.
“Those who caused the crisis and profited from it, should pay for it. Not people on welfare, not people with small incomes, not the workers,” said Die Linke MP Gregor Gysi.
Merkel replied that she wanted to cut the federal welfare budget to reflect the fall in German unemployment.
“In 2006, when there were almost five million jobless, we had less financial help available that we have now,” she said in an address to the Bundestag.
“Today, we have a little over three million jobless. Next year, there will be fewer than three million without a job. Whoever accuses us of massive social cutbacks is lying.”
Lawmakers from across the political spectrum say cuts are necessary but disagree over where to make them.
For example, social benefits will be cut from 54 to 50 percent of the federal budget.
The left want the rich to be taxed more to make up the shortfall in the country’s finances.
Germany’s budget for 2011 set to be finalised by late November.