Budget: ‘Most people better off next year’

Pensioners and people claiming social security benefits will be slightly worse off next year, according to calculations by the government’s economic policy unit CPB which have been leaked by RTL news.

But working people with children will see spending power grow by around 0.5%, according to the figures which are due to be presented by finance minister Wouter Bos on budget day next Tuesday.
Ministers had pledged that no-one would be worse off in 2009.
Finance minister Wouter Bos told reporters on Wednesday that the overwhelming majority of the population will have more money in their pockets.
The slight drop in spending power for pensioners is due to changes to the tax break on high medical costs which will affect a lot of the elderly, news agency ANP reported him as saying.
The formal presentation of the CPB’s macro-economic forecasts (MEV) is one of the highlights of the budget.
The forecast states that despite rising inflation and a slowdown in economic growth, the Dutch economy is still well-placed. The Netherlands will feel little backlash from the US credit crisis, RTL reports the CPB as saying.
Nevertheless, if there are any more economic setbacks, Bos will be forced to make more spending cuts, the CPB says.
The cabinet has already agreed to slash spending on childcare and to scrap the tax break on high healthcare costs.
Main points of the economic forecast
— Wages to rise by an average 3.25% this year and 3.5% in 2009
— Economic growth to reach 2.25% this year and 1.25% in 2009
— Inflation stable at 3.25%
— A budget surplus of 1.3% this year and next, due to natural gas sales
— Unemployment to rise by 20,000 to 335,000

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