Labour publishes plans to restore economy, boost confidence

The Labour party on Tuesday evening published its plans to kick-start the Dutch economy and get the government’s finances back under control, based on the principle of ‘collective prosperity above individual wealth’.

The package of measures, which the party says will save €20bn, include income-related healthcare fees, limits to mortgage tax relief and tougher supervision and taxation of the financial sector.
The minority government and alliance partner PVV are currently locked in negotiations to raise at least €9bn in order to reduce the budget deficit to below the eurozone limit of 3%.
Presenting Labour’s plans, the opposition party’s new leader Diederick Samsom said the time is now ripe for ‘clear choices’ to restore confidence in the country.
‘The Netherlands’ strength and the confidence of its people is not based on the size of the government’s income but on job security, safe streets, affordable housing, good schools, a nearby hospital and reliable energy provision,’ Samsom said.
Labour estimates its plans would eventually improve the government’s finances by €20bn, reducing the budget deficit to 1% by 2015. But the figures have not yet been finalised and the party has asked the government’s macro-economic forecasting agency CPB to carry out its own analysis of the financial impact of the plans.
Seven key areas
Nevertheless, Samsom said Labour does not want to reduce the budget deficit to under 3% by next year, as Brussels demands, because this will cause too much damage to the economy.
The plans focus on seven key areas: jobs, healthcare, housing, security, education, sustainability and the financial sector.
The main points include:

  • A gradual reduction in mortgage tax relief to 30% of the value of the property
  • Income-dependent health insurance premiums
  • An end to competition between health insurance companies
  • Employers to help fund the first six months of unemployment benefit (ww)
  • Redundancy package cash to be used to help find new work
  • The introduction of minimum rates for freelancers
  • Limits on how long companies can use flexible staff and replace fixed contracts with freelancers
  • The introduction of maximum sizes for schools
  • Student grants for the poorest students only
  • Introduction of a bank tax and a tax on financial transactions
  • Tough controls and limits on financial sector bonuses
    Photo: WFA

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