Opposition furious at ‘undemocratic’ plan

Opposition MPs from across the political spectrum have reacted furiously to the agreement reached between ministers, government party leaders, unions and employers on boosting the economy and cutting spending.

The plan is thought to include a pay freeze, a possible two-year increase in the state pension age and measures to boost employment, focusing on the construction sector.
But opposition MPs said in the Volkskrant that the deal lacked a democratic dimension and that parliament had so far been bypassed.
The agreement had been reached behind closed doors, Mark Rutte, leader of the right-wing Liberals, said. And the unions, which appear to have agreed to an increase in the pension age, are an unrepresentative club, the Volkskrant reported him as saying.
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal Democrats D66 accused the government of not showing ambition or leadership. ‘Yesterday I was in Gorssel with 170 people who are worried about their job, their house, their pension and their education,’ the Volkskrant reports him as saying. ‘What has this plan to do with that?’
And Femke Halsema, leader of the left-wing greens GroenLinks said the deal was a ‘suspicious piece of horse trading’. Social security benefits, the extra tax break on non-working partners and mortgage tax relief – all strongly supported by the three coalition parties – had been left untouched, she pointed out.
The plan, drawn up after almost four weeks of talks, is expected to be presented to parliament today.

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