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Honecker Reviews His Successes (April 17-21, 1986)

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Corresponding to the aim of socialism, we are using the substantially increased productive strength of our national economy to secure and further increase the material and cultural standard of living of the people. In fifteen years, 2.4 million new, modernized apartments were built, which made it possible to improve the living conditions of 7.2 million citizens. Two-thirds of all completed, newly-built housing was allocated to workers; one in four new apartments went to young married couples. Since 1971 we have spent 260 billion marks on our housing program, which was ten percent of the national income generated during this time period.

Parallel to the housing construction project, more than 137,000 spaces in daycare facilities were created, 46,000 more than in the previous five years. It has been guaranteed that all children in the respective age groups can attend daycare if the parents so desire. Regarding day nurseries: there was an increase of 66,300 spaces. Whereas in 1970 only 29 out of every 100 children up to three years old received a space, in 1985 the figure was 73 percent. With this, the GDR can boast a high level of care in this area. Since 1971, 46,772 classrooms were built as well as 2,041 school gymnasiums.

The actual income of citizens doubled over the last fifteen years. The net earnings of the population increased 178 percent. For ten years already, more than 7 million workers have received wages based on production and other achievement-oriented measures. We have continually expanded care for children, working mothers, and young families.

The spectrum of social development is broad. Only a few measures shall be mentioned, such as the introduction of the forty-hour work week for all workers in a three-shift-system and for mothers with two children. Today, one in five workers enjoys the forty-hour work week. The 500,000 double-shift workers have a 42-hour work week. All workers have received at least three weeks and three days of vacation at their full wages since the last vacation increase. Since 1970 there have been five pension increases for work veterans. Space for roughly 60,000 new residents has been built in retirement and nursing homes.

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