Final debate focuses on welfare and headcarves

Labour leader Job Cohen is ready to act as a snow plough if the ruling alliance fails to win a majority of seats in the senate, he told the final televised debate ahead of the provincial elections on Tuesday evening.

‘I want you to come with good policies, but that is not the case. Soon you will come with an avalanche of proposals and I will be there with the snow plough to shove them all out of the way,’ Cohen said.
Prime minister Mark Rutte had earlier called Cohen a snow plough on cabinet cuts, saying he would remove difficult but necessary spending cuts if the coalition alliance did not control the senate.
The make up of the provincial councils, which is being determined today, will be used to divide the 75 seats in the senate. The polls say it is unlikely the coalition will get a majority.
Much of the final debate focused on plans to reform welfare, with a new suggestion that family income be used to determine who qualifies centre stage.
Socialist party leader Emile Roemer pointed out that if he was on welfare benefits, his working older daughter would be expected to support him. ‘The only think I could do would be to put her out of my house,’ Roemer said.
PVV senate campaign leader Machiel de Graaf came under fire for the party’s proposal to ban headscarves in provincial council buildings and the suggestion this could be extended to public transport.
One member of the audience asked De Graaf how this would apply to his 88-year-old grandmother who always wore a headscarf.
‘We have to see how, and if ever, this would be put into practice,’ De Graaf said.

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