Ursula von der Leyen: "Support single mothers in everyday life"

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Mrs. von der Leyen, 6146 women have signed our demands for single parents. , ,

Ursula von der Leyen: I am very grateful for this action because it is finally putting the real problems of single parents at the center. This gives me tailwind to use myself even more consistently in the political space for this topic.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: In our dossier we presented the "Palm Project". This is a seminar where single parents learn to cope better with their everyday worries. In the future you immediately accepted our idea of ​​offering palm-tree seminars nationwide in the multigenerational houses that you have initiated.

Ursula von der Leyen: Yes, because we have the common goal of supporting single parents in everyday life. These women rightly want to earn their own income, and they rightly want to have time for their children. And: Young families and, above all, single parents need a dense network of support. If we link the Palm Project with our 500 multi-generational homes, we will add another important element to the expansion of childcare and parental allowance. The multi-generational houses bring with them an excellent infrastructure of neighborly networks and family-related services. At the end of April the first seminar starts in the Mehrgenerationenhaus Düsseldorf.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: 2.2 million single parents in Germany - 95 percent of them women. Many live in poverty.

Ursula von der Leyen: Yes, one third. We need to give these women perspectives to get out of the poverty trap with their children. The expansion of child care is an important step, the further developed child supplement a second.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: The child allowance for low-income families should compensate. In the fall of 2007, you said that in the future, 530,000 children should receive this award. Now only 250 000 children are mentioned. What happened?

Ursula von der Leyen: I have worked hard to improve the child allowance. After long arguments, we are now in the legislative process. Single parents will benefit from the new regulations in two ways. First, the limit as of when there is the child allowance is clearly defined. Single parents who earn up to 600 euros can apply for the supplement. So far, the border was very spongy defined - four of five applications were rejected. And secondly: So far, each cos earned Euro 70 cents deducted from the child allowance. This deduction is reduced to 50 percent. After the tough negotiations, a total of 200 million euros more will now be available - and thus we will reach around 250,000 children.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Single parents are annoyed by the meager tax relief of 1308 euros per year. This amount has been available to them since 2004. At that time it was said: As soon as the economic situation has improved, the discharge amount should be raised. The upswing is here - where is the increase?

Ursula von der Leyen: Since the Federal Constitutional Court overturned the former household allowance in 1998, a lot has happened. The gaze is no longer focused on the household, but on every single child. In tax law, there is a new allowance, child and education allowance amounting to 2160 euros per child for all parents, and the child allowance has been increased twice sharply. From 2002 you can again claim childcare costs. This benefits all children living in the household, regardless of whether the parents are married or not. Especially for single parents comes to the relief amount of 1308 euros, with the single mothers and fathers for the first time in tax law can budget higher than comparable households.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: These allowances only apply to lone-parent households with incomes of around € 30,000 a year, but only a few earn so much.

Ursula von der Leyen: Sure: tax exemptions only work if the income is such that taxes have to be paid in full. Then there is the important principle that taxpayers are less taxed with children than children without children. But for those who have small, barely taxable income, there must also be compensation for children! Therefore, child benefit was increased at the same time. This is paid directly for compensation. And we do the same with childcare: For those paying taxes, from 2006 we have also enormously expanded the tax deductibility of childcare costs. This benefits especially single parents, who often need childcare in addition to the classic kindergarten.And for those who do not benefit from tax relief, we are expanding the offer for children under the age of three with a four billion federal grant. The waiting lists in nurseries or child minders must go!

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: What do you think of free childcare in crèche or daycare?

Ursula von der Leyen: That's the trend - slowly but surely. That pleases me. Two years ago, when I initiated the discussion, there was enormous resistance and criticism. I am pleased that this has changed in the meantime. Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate have the last day of careers free of charge, while in Lower Saxony the last year will be free of contributions for summer. Many other countries are taking similar paths now.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: However, the new law on childcare does not regulate fees. , ,

Ursula von der Leyen: I was faced with the choice, which is more important: should the federal government contrary to its responsibility to invest a lot of money in the expansion of child care, which is indeed national responsibility, or at least in fees for the last kindergarten year? I have decided in the face of the long waiting lists for new crèche places. What do parents and especially single parents have when they can not find care for their toddler, but the space is free for five-year-olds?

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Does this law also specifically consider single parents?

Ursula von der Leyen: In view of your special needs, yes - especially when places are too short. Condition is, however, that they are working or at least looking for work.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Things are getting tighter for many single parents when the children go to the half-day school.

Ursula von der Leyen: Yes, that's really grueling. We are one of the last highly industrialized countries still having half-day schools. I am well aware of the problem and can only advertise for all-day schools. Because we all know about the chances of a full-time school for the learning success of children, but also for working parents. The parents want to spend a good time together with their children and do not argue in the evening about math, Latin or English. Since the Federal Government supports the countries in the development of all-day schools, a lot is happening - but with great differences in the countries.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: But even with the all-day schools, the problem remains with the care during the holidays. , ,

Ursula von der Leyen: Here, too, there is a lot of catching up to do. Some municipalities are exemplary, others still sleep on the trees. Good family policy today is the best location policy.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Poor are many single parents also, because the fathers pay little or no maintenance. Do you need new laws here?

Ursula von der Leyen: This is not a trivial offense, but an irresponsibility of these men beyond compare. The laws are sharp. The problem is not the idle state, but the fathers and their ingenuity with which they try to squeeze. If the father does not pay, the state goes in with the maintenance advance paid to the mother. Of course, the state wants its money back. But the state gets only 20 percent again. This shows how hard these fathers are. As bitter as it is and as angry it makes you.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Many single parents have the impression that the fathers are not followed consistently.

Ursula von der Leyen: Of course I can not judge that in a particular case. But it is true: there are very persistent communities that bring back more - and there are others, less persistent, in which offending fathers have greater opportunities to get away with their lousy game.

ChroniquesDuVasteMonde: Our dossier stated: single parents are forgotten and betrayed. Let's finally take a look into the future: Germany 2020 - what has changed, are single parents seen and considered more?

Ursula von der Leyen: I hope and wish that single parents in 2020 can stand on their own two feet with great self-confidence and take care of themselves and their children. That is why the issue of reconciling work and family life is the key question for these women. What gives me courage: One third of all single parents who live in poverty, come back out there within two years. This shows the enormous power of these women and their desire for independence.

Ursula von der Leyen's bid for Parliamentary support (April 2021).

Ursula von der Leyen, Germany, Dusseldorf, Rhineland-Palatinate, Ursula von der Leyen, interview, dossier, single parent