PM must explain ongoing budget leaks

With the budget still two weeks away, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende has been urged to explain why so many details have already been leaked to the media.

Some of the most important details have been widely published since ministers reached an agreement on next year’s spending plans last week.
MPs from the opposition liberal VVD party have asked Balkenende to outline the measures he is taking to stop the leaks.
They also want ministers to refuse to distribute budget documents to journalists, MPs and other interest groups under embargo on the Friday before budget day on September 18. This tradition was stopped in 2006 because of leaks but is due to be reinstated this year.
Finance minister Wouter Bos told news agency ANP that a lot of wrong things relating to the budget are being reported in the press.
Today the Telegraaf reports that the cabinet plans to increase patients’ contributions to their healthcare bills from €150 to €175 by 2011.
And the Volkskrant says that child benefit will be reduced for better-off families. But plans to increase tax on petrol will not go ahead, although vat on diesel and LPG will be increased, the paper says.

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