Budget: former finance minister critical

The cabinet’s plans to cut tax and premiums by €2.5bn next year would be more ‘solid’ if it was covered by a reduction in government spending, said former finance minister Gerrit Zalm on a tv programme on Sunday night.

The former minister for the right-wing Liberal (VVD) party, now in opposition, was reacting to the cabinet’s budget plans for 2009 which were leaked at the weekend.
Zalm warned that the cut in taxes for individuals and businesses next year could lead to an increase in the future.
A spokesman for the current finance minister Wouter Bos (Labour) told reporters on Sunday that he would very much like to react to Zalm’s criticism but would not do so until after the budget is officially presented on Tuesday.
The budget was leaked on Saturday by the NRC Handelsblad which did not sign the embargo agreement.
Labour MP Paul Tang told RTL news that it was ‘not nice’ of Zalm to comment on the budget before it was officially published.
Zalm said the budget should not have been leaked but that it is ‘almost impossible’ to avoid this when documents were widely circulated under embargo.

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