Treasury has less to spend than expected

The government’s financial situation is more difficult than finance minister Wouter Bos indicated earlier this year, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Quoting a leaked copy of the minister’s Spring statement, the paper says this year’s budget deficit is set to rise to €4bn, or 0.7% of gross domestic product. The cabinet’s target is to reach a surplus of €6bn by 2011.
Among the extra spending, the paper says, is an unexpected €400m on interest, additional government spending of €430m, an extra €140m on social security and a health ministry overspend of €1.3bn.
The mild winter and falling energy prices also cut income from Dutch gas fields by €2.8bn. On the plus side, lower spending by the EU has resulted in a €340m repayment.
Meanwhile, the Financieele Dagblad reports that the cabinet has draw up a short list of 70 concrete targets, following its 100-day tour of the country to gather ideas. The plans will be presented on June 14.
The government has €7bn set aside to spend on new policy initiatives plus €3bn for cutting taxes and levies.

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