Ministers have agreed to spend an extra €20m on measures to combat poverty this year, including help with dealing with debt.
Most of the money – €19m – will go to local councils which are the front line in efforts to reduce poverty.
The main thrust of the initiative is to stop people getting into debt in the first place, junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma said.
She called on councils, debt collectors, water boards, energy suppliers, housing corporations and health insurers to work together to signal problems with payments.
The minister also said she plans to adopt recommendations from the childrens’ ombudsman last month, in which he called for more action to help children growing up in poverty.
The ombudsman said local councils should put together a package of benefits in kind for the country’s poorest children. These packages would include vouchers for swimming lessons, clothes and a library card.
So far 26 councils have expressed an interest in the scheme, the minister said. One in nine children in the Netherlands grows up in a family officially considered to be poor.
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