Budget: ‘youth policy to dominate debate’

Youth policy looks like being the main issue when MPs discuss the cabinet’s 2009 budget, reports Monday’s Volkskrant.

The Labour party (PvdA), which is the second largest coalition partner, wants the government to step in and take tough action to solve a number of youth-related problems.
Over the last few weeks it has emerged that the number of young people referred to social services is growing by between 10% and 25% a year, that the school drop-out rate is growing and that the number of young people on welfare benefits is going up.
Mariette Hamer, leader of the PvdA in parliament, is to propose that the four major cities (Amsterdam. Rotterdam. The Hague and Utrecht) take an integrated approach to youth policy, the paper says.
At present youth policy is fragmented across four ministries.
The move should not be seen as criticism of Andrè Rouvoet, the orthodox Christian minister who is responsible for youth affairs, the paper quotes Hamer as saying. ‘This is not an anti-Rouvoet move, but a gesture of support,’ she said.
Meanwhile the opposition green party GroenLinks is to suggest setting up a commission to look into the problems facing young people, reports the Volkskrant. The party has allocated an extra €1.5bn for youth-related policy in its alternative budget, the paper says.
All opposition political parties traditionally present their own spending plans after the official budget has been published.
Last week, Hans Kamps, a member of the government’s most important advisory body, the SER, warned that an ‘underclass’ of young people unable to participate in society is emerging.

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