Coalition accord: the latest leaks

Despite the official wall of silence around the coalition formation talks between the right-wing VVD and Labour party (PvdA), Monday’s papers again contain a number of leaks about what their strategy entails.

The Telegraaf says the new coalition is planning to launch a major overhaul of local government by merging town and district councils into authorities of at least 100,000 people. At the moment, just 25 of the country’s 415 local authorities have populations of more than 100,000.
In addition, sources have told the paper the new coalition will also look at potentially merging some of the provinces. For example, Noord Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland could be merged into a single authority, the paper says.
Nos television quotes sources as saying the two parties have decided not to press ahead with the introduction of a kilometre tax on driving. Labour had included the introduction of road pricing in its election manifesto.
Sources in The Hague have also told reporters the two parties have agreed to flood the Hedwige polder in Zeeland, so ending years of disagreement between the Netherlands and Belgium.
Other measures in the coalition agreement which have been leaked or made public earlier include:
• Mortgage tax relief will be reduced by 0.5% a year from 2014 for both new and current mortgages
• The highest tax band will be cut from 52% to 49%
• The third tax band will go down from 42% to 38%
• Healthcare benefit will be scrapped
• Health insurance premiums will become income-dependent
• €1bn will be cut from the development aid budget
• The defence ministry will get extra cash for peace missions
• Student grants will be replaced by loans and the fine for slow students will be scrapped.
• Tax on insurance will be doubled to 21%
• Civil servants will no longer be able to refuse to marry gay couples
• Local councils will have the right to decide whether or not to allow Sunday shopping
• A limited amnesty for refugee children who have become rooted in the Netherlands
• Plans to make it easier for companies to sack staff will be reversed

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