Regions draw up recession-busting plans

The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam city councils and the province of Noord-Brabant are to inject hundreds of millions of euros into reducing the negative effects of the recession.

On Tuesday it emerged that the Dutch economy is set to shrink by 3.5% this year and that unemployment could mount up to 700,000, or almost 9%, by 2010.
Rotterdam city council is setting aside €200m to counteract the effects of the crisis. Its plans, which will be finalised by the end of the month, include buying building land from developers so they have more cash to realise projects.
Amsterdam is also to allow developers to begin construction projects without buying land from the city. This measure will stimulate the building of homes and schools, council officials said on Wednesday.
The city has a target of 3,000 new homes this year. ‘We are going to do our absolute best to make sure that happens,’ a spokesman for the council’s planning chief Maarten van Poelgeest told the Parool.
The Hague said on Wednesday it would pump an extra €94m into recession-busting measures. For example, infrastructure projects – such as renewing the sewage system – will be speeded up to boost the local economy.
‘The council is also ready to help people threatened with job losses. We are investing more in education and are doing all we can to keep people in work,’ council executive Marieke Bolle said.
Noord-Brabant is the first of the 12 provincial governments to publish its plans, which involve an investment of €300m. The province is to focus on helping the manufacturing industry – particularly the metal, plastics and IT sectors, the Telegraaf reports.

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