PM does not rule out budget cuts

The prime minister told parliament on Wednesday evening that the government will weigh up all the uncertainties facing the economy in the current financial crisis before deciding how strictly it will adhere to its budget rules in 2009, reports Thursday’s NRC.

Jan Peter Balkenende said he wants to keep to the current strict spending. But he admits cuts may be necessary to keep the budget deficit from mushrooming, says the paper.
This week it emerged that the Netherlands will enter a recession next year. The government’s spending plans are based on a growth forecast.
Balkenende’s own Christian Democrat party and opposition Liberal parties – the VVD and D66 – want cuts as soon as the budget shortfall appears to be set to top 2% in 2010. But coalition party Labour has already said cuts will not be necessary.
‘A deal is a deal,’ the prime minister told parliament. ‘But there are many uncertainties and we have to weigh these when we look for a sensible policy,’ the NRC quotes him as saying.
The government’s economic policy unit CPB is forecasting a deficit of 2.4% in 2010 and expects budget agreements to be broken.

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