Final touches put to crisis-busting package

Ministers and coalition party leaders are putting the final touches to a package of measures aimed at beating the recession on Tuesday afternoon, following Monday’s 15-hour marathon session.

Finance minister Wouter Bos told MPs that the deal also had to be discussed with unions and employers. ‘It is important to organise support for the plan,’ Bos said.
Among the measures which have been agreed are an increase in the state pension age from 65 to 67, according to media reports.
The owners of homes worth more than €1m also face extra taxes and help with healthcare insurance for low income households is set to be cut, the Volkskrant says.
Sources told the paper the entire package will collapse if the increase in the state pension age is not backed by MPs and unions.
It is not clear when and how the pension age will be increased and if the over-50s will be exempt, insiders said.
Unions and employer representatives were due to join the talks on Tuesday afternoon. Agnes Jongerius, head of the FNV trade union federation, has already made it clear she is totally opposed to an increase in the pension age.
Exactly when the spending cuts will be made remains unclear. The Volkskrant says ministers have agreed to make savings of €5bn in 2011 which is election year. Other papers say this will only happen if the economy has picked up by then.
The Telegraaf says that ministers have agreed to put €6bn into extra investments and tax cuts. Investments will be made in boosting employment and cutting planning procedures for new construction projects. The flight tax introduced last year is the most likely tax to be scrapped, the paper says.
The NRC says €3.2bn would be saved by cutting social security benefits and on civil service salaries.
The government needs to make spending cuts to keep the budget deficit under control. Under European Union rules the deficit should not rise above 3% of GDP, but the current coalition has a 2% ceiling.

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