If based on PS, the social tariff for electricity and/or natural gas is structurally fixed. This is what Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Pierre-Yves Derman said Friday in La Dernier-Heuer. The French-speaking socialists also want to give every Belgian family a one-time €100 energy check. With these two measures against energy price hikes, PS is withdrawing from the federal government’s budget consultations.
Currently, 900 thousand Belgian families are covered by the social rate. The expansion earlier this year resulted in 400,000 new rights holders. They have to pay an average of €250 less for an electric bill and €415 less for a gas bill. If that depends on Energy Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Green), this extended social rate will be extended beyond the end of this year.
The Socialist Party also wants to expand this social rate, says Deputy Prime Minister Dermagne. It even calls for a structural anchoring of the procedure. “This will be our absolute priority at this week’s budget meeting,” he told DH. Dermagne also wants to expand the social rate for poor families who use a common gas boiler.
In addition, PS wants to give every household in our country a one-time energy check. “It’s a fixed-rate, ‘one-shot’ intervention that directly lowers each family’s bill,” says Dermagne. According to him, a check of 100 euros per family has a budgetary impact of 524 million euros. “The amount can be negotiated, but 100 euros seems meaningful to us.”
Magnet: “I cry in the desert”
Meanwhile, in the last straight line of budget talks, PS President Paul Magnet is again calling for massive investments to deal with the climate and social crisis. “I get the impression that I’m screaming in the desert and it makes me desperate sometimes,” he said on La Première (RTBF) on Friday. “What is the point of telling our children and grandchildren, ‘Look, global warming is happening everywhere, there is a social crisis, there are floods and hurricanes, but you balance the budgets.’ That’s just ridiculous!”
Magnet says the need is great. “We need ambition and breathing space in this country, not accountants’ stocks,” he addresses to those who want to make deficit reduction a priority. “If we can’t invest half a billion in insulating our buildings, half a billion in NMBS, and gradually make public transportation free, we will not be able to meet the historic challenge. (…) We are no longer in everyday politics, a break is needed.”