‘Ignore deficit,’ employers’ leaders say

Employers organisations say the cabinet should put budgetary rules on hold temporarily and do more to boost the economy, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Thursday.

‘The cabinet must react now. Obviously then you come into conflict with the government’s spending rules,’ the paper reported Bernard Wientjes, head of the VNO NCW employers organisation, as saying at a news conference in Brussels.
‘But it is an illusion to think that the budget will pan out the way it was supposed to,’ Wientjes said.
‘It is an extremely unusual situation’ and the cabinet should do more to boost the economy, despite the knock-on effect on the budget deficit, Loek Hermans, head of the small firm association MKB-Nederlands told the same meeting, the FD reported.
The European stability pact states that budget deficits may not reach more than 3% of GDP. The Dutch government’s rules say that if the deficit reaches 2%, spending cuts must be made.
The government’s 2009 spending plans, presented last September, were based on slight growth in the Dutch economy this year. According to the latest estimates from the European Commission, it may contract by 2%. The Commission also says the Dutch budget deficit is set to reach 2.7%.
Measures taken by ministers so far do not go far enough, the employers’ leaders said. In particular they want more wage subsidies for research and development staff, the FD says.

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