Holland is financially healthy, says ministry

The Netherlands has a healthy financial position with a faster growing economy, lower inflation and less unemployment than other European countries, said finance minister Wouter Bos on Friday presenting his department’s annual report.

Bos reported that economic growth last year was 3.5%, 0.5% higher than forecast, and the number of people with jobs reached record levels, with unemployment falling to 4.5%.
All government departments present their annual reports today. The aim is to hold ministers to account for their policies over the last year and examine in how far these have delivered on the promises made.
From the defence ministry’s report it has emerged that the Dutch military mission to Afghanistan overspent its €134.6m budget by €98m, says ANP. Transport costs in particular were high.
According to the NRC, the home affairs ministry admits that it has not been able to reach its goal of reducing red tape to 25% of its 2003 level. The paper says too that the housing department has over-spent considerably, due mainly to rent subsidies which are €300m over budget.
The cabinet will not hit its target of a 80% participation in the labour market by 2016 at the current rate of improvement either, says the NRC. According to the social affairs ministry the percentage has grown just one percentage point to 73% over the last two years.
The ministries’ official ‘day or reckoning’ is not until Wednesday when the national audit office will report on the outcome of the cabinet’s policies over the past year and prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende will present his vision of what the cabinet’s achievements.
A parliamentary debate on the cabinet’s achievements takes place on the following day.

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