BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) agreed on their policy platform for a Sept. 24 election in which they want to deny conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term in office despite polls showing them trailing by around 15 percentage points.
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Below is a summary of the SPD’s main policies:
Reduce burden for low and medium earners by about 15 billion euros (13.20 billion pounds) a year.
Exempt workers earning less than 52,000 euros a year from a 5.5 percent ‘solidarity tax’ which supports poorer eastern German states from 2020.
Raise top income tax rate to 45 percent from 42 percent and lift threshold for this to 76,000 euros from about 54,000 euros.
Replace flat-rate withholding tax on private income from capital gains, currently 25 percent, with a banded system to make income from labour and capital taxed equally.
However, there is no wealth tax in the manifesto, which some on the left of the party had wanted. Instead, the party has set up a commission to look into the question.
Invest in infrastructure, schools, transport.
Keep pensions stable at 48 percent of an average salary until 2030. Current projections are for pensions to fall to 44.7 percent of wages due to an ageing population.
Aims to cap contributions, divided between workers and employers, at 22 percent of salary by 2030 from 18.7 percent.
Has also said wants to keep retirement age at 67 years.
Abolish nursery fees and extend full-day schools.
Wants free education from nursery to higher education.
Curb employers’ rights to offer workers limited contracts.
Part-time workers given the right to return to full-time employment.
Extend unemployment benefit for those in vocational training.
Adjust health insurance to ensure employers and employees each pay half the contributions
Pro-European approach. Wants EU to invests in education, jobs, growth and guarantee fair wages and good working conditions. Rejects nationalist and populist views.
Wants disarmament, rejects “unnecessary” build-up of arms within NATO. Wants more spending on crisis prevention, humanitarian aid to accompany increased defence spending.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Adrian Croft