Initial reactions to the government’s 2010 spending plans, largely leaked at the weekend, are overwhelmingly negative, according to reports in the Dutch press.
Although detailed spending plans and the latest macro-economic forecast will not officially be published until this afternoon, opposition parties and unions are critical of the proposals which have already emerged.
The government is planning to cut spending on education, healthcare and social security next year. But bigger cuts to eradicate the mounting budget deficit will not be made until 2011 and onwards.
The FNV trade union federation told the Volkskrant that it is ‘odd’ that unemployment does not appear to be a priority and that the government is planning to cut spending on getting the jobless back to work.
MPs are supposed to wait until Tuesday afternoon to comment on the budget in detail but most opposition parties have already made their disastisfaction clear.
Alexander Pechtold, leader of the Liberal democratic party D66 said the budget is ‘a great disappointment’ and ‘almost a political crime’.
It is extremely irresponsible of the the government to make the next generation pay for the recession, he was quoted as saying in the Volkskrant.
Femke Halsema, leader of the left-wing green party GroenLinks said she is surprised by the lack of ambition in the plans. And Socialist Party leader Agnes Kant said the cabinet is letting ordinary people pay the bill. ‘Bankers are left out. But elderly people today and in the future will have to raise the money to pay debts.’
Mark Rutte, leader of the free-market Liberal party VVD, said the plans are ‘too little too late’. The cabinet is fast becoming a think-tank which looks at options to tackle the crisis but does not take any action, he said.
More on this
Budget leaked, health eduction to be cut
Labour’s finance spokesman leaked budget
Is the budget the right one? Take part in our poll