Record Deficit in Pension Fund | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 17.10.2003
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Record Deficit in Pension Fund

Germany's pension fund is in worse shape than previously thought, with new figures revealing an €8 billion shortfall. Add to that another €2 billion that the government is committed to saving on its pension contributions, and the deficit sum climbs to €10 billion. As a result, Germans could be facing a hike in pension contribution levels to 20.3 percent of gross monthly income in the coming year. Germany's minister of health and social security, Ulla Schmidt, is expected to lay out her plan to bring the deficit under control. Experts say that short-term savings measures – such as postponing a planned increase in pension payments by six months, or increasing health insurance contributions for pensioners -- would only deliver relief of five to six billion euros. The association of German pension insurers is warning against a cut in the federal government's pension contribution, saying if it goes ahead, there will be no way to avoid an increase in individual contributions.