Budget: spending power to fall 0.75% as economy grows same amount

Spending power is set to fall an average 0.75% next year, Nos television reports on Tuesday, ahead of this afternoon’s budget presentation.

The drop is due to higher healthcare and pension premiums, the increase in value-added tax and higher alcohol and tobacco duties.
According to the Telegraaf, healthcare premiums will go up an average 10%. This will come on top of the €130 rise in the own-risk fee, taking that to €350 a year.
Budget Day, or Prinsjesdag, will be the same but different in The Hague on Tuesday. The 2013 budget will be read out by queen Beatrix as usual, but many of the details are already known and how much of it will be implemented is unclear.
The finance minister’s budget statement, due to be published this afternoon at 15.15 hours, states the economy will grow 0.75% next year and the budget deficit will remain just under the 3% eurozone limit.
The measures in this budget were agreed by a five-party coalition at the end of April after the government collapsed. The aim of the VVD, CDA, D66, ChristenUnie and GroenLinks was to get the budget deficit under 3% in line with EU regulations.
Austerity measures
Since then, of course, the Netherlands has held a general election and new coalition talks are currently taking place. New MPs have not yet taken their place in parliament and once a new government is formed, it is not clear if the whole of the budget being presented on Tuesday will be accepted.
Several of the measures have already come in for criticism, not least by the five parties which agreed them in the first place. Chief among them is removing the tax break on commuters’ travel expenses.
Among the other controversial measures which could well be changed are a rise in the own-risk healthcare premium of €100 , various measures to revive the housing market and when to introduce a higher pension age.
Parliament has already approved an increase in the state pension age to 67 and a rise in value-added tax to 21% from October 1.
MPs traditionally debate the budget plans on Wednesday and Thursday but the debate has been delayed until next week and may not take place at all, according to several newspapers.
This is because Labour leader Diederik Samsom and prime minister Mark Rutte are currently in talks on working together in a new cabinet, making a debate in which they attack each other’s policies inappropriate.
The new-look 150-seat lower house of parliament will be installed on Thursday, eight days after the general election.

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