Labour leader calls for investment, not cuts, to get economy moving

Billions of euros held by private individuals, banks, investors and pension funds must be made to work and get the economy rolling again, Labour leader Diederik Samsom says in an interview with Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

The cabinet needs to make a plan to stimulate investment. ‘Only making savings is no longer an option,’ Samsom told the Volkskrant.

The Labour leader is not part of the cabinet even though his party is in a coalition with the right-wing VVD Liberals.

According to Nos television, the two parties have begun behind-the-scenes talks on how to make further savings next year in order to meet eurozone budget deficit rules. They have already agreed the next austerity package will be no higher than €6bn and are due to present their plans in September.


Ministers must ‘not only focus on getting the treasury in order,’ Samsom told the paper. ‘We have to tempt people to spend money again.’

Earlier this year, prime minister Mark Rutte urged people to spend money to get the economy moving again. ‘It is obviously not enough just to ask,’ Samsom said. ‘We can no longer wait until things get better by themselves.’

‘It is time to give the economy a boost so there is more work and we start building again,’ he said.

Pension funds

Among the options Samsom suggests are giving a ‘financial advantage’ to pension funds and institutional investors which put money into mortgages. In addition, the government should do more to guarantee loans to small and medium-sized companies.

There should also be an appeal to people with considerable private assets, such as golden handshakes which have been locked up to avoid high taxes, he said.

The VVD’s leader in parliament, Halbe Zijlstra, has already said he thinks the extra cuts should be made in healthcare, in housing and child benefits and in social security benefits.

Samsom said cuts in social benefits are out of the question. ‘We are not making people on low incomes pay for this crisis,’ he said.

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