Budget reactions: no answers to the economic crisis, says opposition

The government’s 2012 spending plans will hit people on low incomes hardest and will do little to tackle the looming economic crisis, say opposition party leaders.

Socialist party leader Emile Roemer
‘This is a hard and cold budget. The measures it contains are splitting society in two: between young and old, sick and healthy. The plans will be disastrous for the country. Rutte is demolishing both the economy and society. The banks and the countries that have made mess of things get support while the people who can’t make ends meet pay the bill.’
Labour leader Job Cohen
‘This budget contains no answers to the problems we are now facing: the euro crisis, the economic problems… The cuts are once again affecting the same people who have it hardest. The government is taking €100 away on one hand and giving back €10 on the other.’
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal democrats D66
‘The word ‘reform’ appears in the text 16 times but the verb ‘to reform’ does not appear at all. The cabinet writes about uncertain times, about setbacks, about the difficult international conditions but does not produce the necessary structural solutions such as increasing the pension age.’
Jolande Sap, leader of GroenLinks, the left-wing green party
‘The cabinet is going to make major cuts next year but still won’t get its finances in order. The whole story is one big bluff. Cuts in education, healthcare, getting people back to work and the environment will not make the economy stronger but will hit people on low and medium incomes hard.’
Arie Slob, leader of left-wing orthodox Christian party ChristenUnie
‘I don’t understand the choices the government is making… Support for youngsters and families is being cut. Extra benefits for rent and healthcare are being cut. But the big picture, even in relation to the debt crisis, is missing.’

Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam PVV and coalition alliance partner

‘Things are not going well here in the Netherlands and action needs to be taken. That is what we agreed to support and we will meet our obligations.’ Extra cuts are not necessary, Wilders says: ‘If we have to go that far, then we do not want cuts to [services to average citizens] Henk and Ingrid, but to left-wing hobbies like development aid, public broadcasters and art and culture.’

Sybrand Haersma Buma, leader of the Christian Democrats in parliament

‘As far as I am concerned, the government can do more to reduce the state debt and budget deficit. We already know things are not going to be as good in the Netherlands next year as they were in the past.’
Michel Rog, chairman of the CNV teaching union
‘The cabinet shows little ambition to get the Dutch education level back into the global top 5. We need investment but it is lacking. But money is being put into performance related pay for teachers and in free school books.’