Divided reactions to ‘good news’ budget

The government’s two main advisory bodies, the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) and the Council of State, have criticised yesterday’s budget announcement, claiming in today’s Financieele Dagblad that the 0.2% budget surplus conceals ‘a significant worsening of the budget balance’.

This budget could undo some of the progress made by spending cuts in the last few years, the CPB said. In the Volkskrant, the Council of State expressed its concern that the budget does not leave enough room for a new cabinet (which could be installed after November’s election) to implement its own policies.
The trade unions were also negative. Agnes Jongerius said that the budget confirmed her opinion that Holland has ‘an employers’ cabinet’, adding that there could have been more measures to create extra jobs. CNV chairman Rene Paas warned ‘this is no time for self-satisfaction’ and the smaller MHP promptly increased its pay demand for next year to 3.25%, saying tax breaks for workers were ‘on the thin side’.
Employers on the other hand were enthusiastic. VNO-NCW chief Bernard Wientjes told the Volkskrant that the reduction in corporate tax means companies will increase investment.

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