Opposition parties, whose support will be needed to ensure the government’s budget plans are passed in the upper house of parliament, were highly criticial of the 2014 budget.
Union leaders, too, said they were sceptical about the government’s apparent change of heart on freezing civil service pay next year and would wait for the details before making their position clear.
Stop the delays
The cabinet should stop delaying matters and ‘take control, reform the economy, combat unemployment and invest in education,’ said D66 leader Alexander Pechtold.
‘These are simply difficult times for everyone in the Netherlands. Everyone is going to notice,’ Diederik Samsom, leader of the coalition Labour party said. ’I understand that after five years of reduced spending power, people are beginning to say ‘I’ll believe if when I see it’.’
PVV leader Geert Wilders said he felt the leaders of the ruling VVD and PVdA came from another planet. He accused the cabinet of spending billions of euros on the JSF fighter jet while cutting pensioner income.
The cabinet’s measures are making it worse for everyone, and poor families in particular, said Emile Roemer, leader of the Socialist Party. All the cabinet is doing is what Brussels wants, he added.
On your own
The government’s ‘participatory society’ means you are on your own, said Arnoud Boot, an economics professor at the University of Amsterdam. The government should instead do more to make people feel secure and encourage investment, he said.
Middle income households are being hit disproportionately, said Bob van der Wal of white collar union MHP. ‘Real salaries are going to go down for the fifth year and it is no wonder people are spending less.’
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