Few surprises on Budget Day

Queen Beatrix will make her official speech from the throne outlining the government’s plans for the next parliamentary year on Tuesday, but there will be no surprises given the current administration’s caretaker status.

This means ministers are simply minding the shop until a new coalition has been put together. Nevertheless, the spending plans for 2013 have to be finalised, so the budget preparations have continued as usual, without controversial elements.
An added complication this year is the spring austerity agreement, worked out between five parties in April in an effort to cut the budget deficit to below 3% and head off sanctions from Brussels.

Spring agreement

The five parties – who accounted for more than half the parliamentary seat at the time – no longer have majority support. This means some of the austerity measure, such as the tax on travel expenses, are unlikely to make it on to the statute books.
The spring agreement also paved the way for a rise in the state pension age to 67, an increase in the own-risk element in healthcare and limits to tax breaks on mortgages.
The right-wing VVD and Labour party PvdA have differing views on these issues, meaning they are also likely to be amended when, and if, a coalition agreement is finally put together.
In addition, MPs are unlikely to be too critical about any of the measures so long as it is unclear which parties will form the new cabinet in an effort not to sour the talks, news agency ANP said.
This means the traditional elements of Budget Day – Prinsjesdag – will remain: the coach processions, the speech from the throne and the finance minister’s state of the economy speech.
But MPs will be more concerned about the ongoing efforts to put together a new government than spending plans which have already been widely discussed and may never become a reality anyway, ANP said.
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