Denmark could give tax-free sum to families with high heating bills

A new government proposal could see a one-off relief sum paid to households hardest hit by high gas prices.

Denmark's government could offer a one-off sum worth thousands of kroner to homes worst-hit by high heating bills.
Denmark's government could offer a one-off sum worth thousands of kroner to homes worst-hit by high heating bills.Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government wants to pay out a one-off, tax-free sum to families particularly hard hit by energy price rises this winter, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported on Thursday.

Both individually gas heated homes and houses on district heating systems could be offered cash under the political initiative.

“We propose that we put together a heating cheque for Danes who are hardest hit – specifically, that means people who have individual gas heating or live in district heating areas where the district heating supply relies on gas,” the minister for climate, energy and critical supplies, Dan Jørgensen, told Jyllands-Posten.

Political talks are ongoing over how to tackle the very high current cost of energy for households and businesses.

READ ALSO: Why some homes in Denmark are more affected by rocketing heating bills

Heating bills could increase by as much as 30,000 kroner this year for some homes with individual gas heating, depending on supplier, Jyllands Posten writes. For houses on district heating systems, the worst-hit homes could see bills go up by as much as 200 percent.

Jørgensen told the newspaper that the “hardest hit” people who would be the target of the government relief total “around 400,000 people in the first category and around 40,000 people in the second category”.

“We propose a tax-free cheque as help to get through a difficult time,” the minister said.

The proposal was expected to be discussed at a meeting on Thursday morning between energy representatives from each of parliament’s political parties. It would need a parliamentary majority to support it and subsequently find funding.

Many, but not all families in gas-heated homes would receive the cash injection, Jørgensen said.

“We don’t think it should be given to people with high incomes. We are therefore proposing that we agree on a level under which it will be paid out so that people with million-krone incomes can’t get it,” he said.

Families who qualify for the relief would not need to apply for it, he also said.

“If you are under the income threshold we agree on, you will automatically receive the sum. It shouldn’t be the case that you have to deal with the bother of applying for it,” he said, adding that removing an application process would ensure that vulnerable people do not miss out on it by failing to apply.

The amount which would be paid out is yet to be clarified and depends on political negotiations, the minister also said, but confirmed it would be in the thousands of kroner.

READ ALSO: What do Denmark’s politicians want to do about high energy prices?

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Denmark and three other EU nations want to increase North Sea wind power tenfold by 2050

EU members Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium on Wednesday said they wanted to increase their North Sea wind power capacity tenfold by 2050 to help the bloc achieve its climate goals and avoid Russian hydrocarbons.

Denmark and three other EU nations want to increase North Sea wind power tenfold by 2050

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the plan would mean the four countries would “deliver more than half of all offshore wind needed to reach climate neutrality in the European Union”.

The increase would make the North Sea “the green power plant of Europe”, she told a news conference in the port of Esbjerg in western Denmark.

“Setting a vision is not enough, we will make it happen,” Frederiksen added, flanked by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, Dutch premier Mark Rutte and Belgian leader Alexander De Croo.

The countries’ goal is to raise wind power capacity fourfold to 65 gigawatts by 2030 and then tenfold to almost 150 gigawatts by 2050.

They said 150 gigawatts of offshore wind power would supply 230 million homes with electricity.

Such a capacity would amount to 15,000-20,000 wind turbines, based on the most powerful ones currently on the market.

The announcement comes as the European Commission presented a plan to accelerate the development of renewable energy worth 210 billion euros ($220 billion) to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas as quickly as possible.

The European Union has already said it will end imports of Russian coal by August.

An embargo on Russian oil as part of a sixth sanctions package against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine is proving more contentious after Hungary raised objections.

The commission has said it wants to reduce purchases of Russian gas by two-thirds this year and completely before 2030.

On Wednesday it proposed to increase the proportion of renewable energies in the bloc’s energy mix from 40 percent to 45 percent by 2030.

The 27-nation EU aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

READ ALSO: Danish offshore wind could help Europe ditch fossil fuels