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Lindner raises doubts over German gas tax – POLITICO

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner questioned whether efforts to help the country’s energy companies cope with soaring energy costs would lead to lower energy prices for local consumers.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Lindner, the leader of the country’s liberal Democratic Party, said the so-called gas tax, the plan to charge Germans a fee to compensate energy companies for the surge in skyrocketing wholesale energy costs because of the war in Ukraine. , may not be the best way to handle the global energy crisis.

“We have a gas tax that raises the price,” Lindner said in an interview published Sunday. “But we need a gas price drag that brings the price down.”

The gas tax, which is due to come into force on October 1, became a political hot potato among members of Germany’s coalition government as soon as it was first proposed by Robert Habeck, the country’s energy minister. country and member of the Green party.

Despite growing cost-of-living concerns for average German voters, the tax was designed to help for-profit energy companies, some of which have posted windfall revenues amid rising global natural gas prices. Estimates suggest that an average German household of four will pay €480 more per year to cover the expected tax.

Lindner wondered if such a surcharge would help prop up often smaller energy companies struggling to pay rapidly rising wholesale energy prices.

“It’s less a question of law when it comes to the gas tax, and more and more a question of economic reasoning,” Lindner said. “A gas price brake should quickly help everyone in the economy.”

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