Recession: don’t panic, says government

The government has no intention of altering its 2009 spending plans in light of the impending recession, says finance minister Wouter Bos.

‘We must not panic. The budget is the right answer to this situation,’ Bos is reported as saying in the Financieele Dagblad. ‘Lesson one is that you don’t adapt your spending plans on a daily basis.’
On Monday the government’s macro economic think-tank CPB said the Dutch economy would shrink at least 0.75% next year. Bos said the Netherlands is a ‘rich and prosperous’ country and its economy is in a strong position compared with many other European countries. ‘We will get through this. The Dutch economy can take a knock,’ the paper quotes him as saying.
Political parties from across the spectrum also said there should be no change in the government’s economic course. But Liberal leader Mark Rutte called on ministers to find room to cut taxes.
Wage moderation
Pieter van Geel, leader of the Christian Democratic party in parliament, said that perhaps wage moderation should be stepped up. And economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven said she hoped falling inflation would encourage unions to lower their pay claims.
According to NOS tv, the cabinet has said pay rises of 3.5% would be acceptable next year. But given the CPB forecasts and rising unemployment, lower pay claims would be appropriate, NOS quoted the minister as saying.
However Trade union federation FNV will stick to its wage demands in 2009 even if there is a recession, its chairman Agnes Jongerius told news radio BNR on Tuesday. She added that economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven should not interfere in wage negotiations.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation