Councils fail to apply for EU jobless cash

Only 26 of the Netherlands’ over 400 local councils applied for European Union cash to help combat unemployment last year, BNR radio reports on Friday.

In total, only €28m of the €67m available for Dutch projects has been claimed, the paper says. The unclaimed cash will return to Brussels.
Henk Wiersema of Hezelburgt, a firm which helps councils formulate subsidy applications, says social affairs ministry bureaucracy is one reason for the low take-up rate.
And the local authorities organisation VNG agrees. It says many councils do not apply because the procedure is too complicated. And, points out a spokesman, the subsidies are only available for people aged over 45 or who suffer from a work-related disability.
The social affairs ministry said in November that the number of applications for EU cash to tackle unemployment has gone up compared with previous years. Nevertheless, the minister was considering taking action to increase the take-up rate.
A new round of subsidy applications will begin in three weeks time.

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