Labour to cut red tape, boost spending

The Labour party (PvdA) has pledged to boost spending on healthcare, job creation and education by generating cuts totalling €12 bn, according to the party’s manifesto for the November general election. ‘It is an optimistic programme which believes in the power of our society,’ party leader Wouter Bos said at the manifesto’s presentation on Sunday.

There was, he said, no room for pessimism about the aging population, terrorism or the rise of China as an economic power. ‘This [the manifesto] is a helping hand to work towards a better Holland,’ said Bos.
Labour’s manifesto has been controversial since plans to make pensioners continue paying pension contributions leaked out. That plan, albeit watered down, plus cuts in mortgage tax relief, means Labour is making the middle class pay for its ‘dream’, said Christian Democrat (CDA) leader Maxime Verhagen. Liberal (VVD) leader Mark Rutte described the Labour manifesto as ‘sober’. The economy was growing and spending on social security was down, he said. ‘People should have more to spend in their pockets’.
Left-wing green party GroenLinks also called for cuts in mortgage tax relief in its manifesto
published Monday morning. It said it would slash the top rate from 52% to 30%. Holland is one of the few countries in Europe where mortgages are completely tax deductible.
Main points of the PvdA manifesto:
● Better-off pensioners to pay state pension contributions
● 3 days free childcare every week
● scrapping own risk element from healthcare insurance. Dental care to be covered in basic package
● Mortgage tax relief for high incomes to be cut from 52% to 42%
● The creation of 15,000 subsidised jobs
● Free off-peak transport for pensioners
● Pull out of Joint Strike Fighter programme
● Support for EU-wide tax on aircraft fuel
●10% pay rise for teachers

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