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Taking Stock of the Federal Government’s Social Policy (May 17, 1974)

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Fifth, I will mention vocational training. The federal government will work hard to secure qualified vocational training for our young people. It has presented principles for a revised Vocational Training Act (BBiG). In drafting this law, the federal government will not neglect the advice and experience of people involved in the practice of vocational training. We want vocational training to receive equal treatment. [ . . . ]

Ladies and gentlemen, today it is certainly impossible for me to mention everything that the social-liberal coalition has accomplished or gotten underway in other important areas of social policy since the Bundestag elections in 1972. Let me name just a few examples.

We expanded the system of social protection and improved social benefits. In the three years from 1972 to 1974 alone, pensions were raised 44 percent. Of course, part of that was swallowed up by increased prices, but the fact remains that the true buying power – after allowing for the price increases – of pensioners has increased 19 percent within three years.

Effective improvements were achieved not only for social security pensions, but also in the services for war victims. In addition to increases and structural improvements over the last few years, dates for the increase in war pensions have been brought forward in steps.

The expansion of agrarian social policy is also continuing. In the course of this development, the agricultural pension will be adapted to changes in wage structures [index-linked] starting on January 1, 1975.

Company pension schemes will be protected against lapsing in the future, for example, if someone changes jobs or in cases of bankruptcy – and this will give greater security to twelve million employees.

There have been significant improvements for the elderly, those in need of care, and the disabled as part of the Third Law to amend the Federal Social Assistance Act (BSHG), which entered into force only a few weeks ago on April 1, 1974.

The new occupational health act and the bill for a revised youth unemployment protection act serve to make work life more humane; the former requires companies to hire company physicians and experts to oversee health and safety.

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