Key features leaked ahead of the budget, spending power down 0.5%

Spending power will shrink by an average 0.5% next year, while the economy will grow by 0.5%, according to key financial figures leaked ahead of Tuesday’s budget.

The figures also show unemployment will rise to 9.25% and the budget deficit will be 3.3%, above the 3% demanded by Brussels.

The calculations, from the macro-economic think-tank CPB, are based on the government’s 2014 spending plans and should have been presented on Tuesday alongside the €6bn austerity package. The CPB later published the documents in the wake of the RTL leak.

Single people

Although the drop in spending power is marginal, it comes on top of a 1.25% reduction this year. Pensioners and single people in work will be hardest hit by the changes, with 1.5% less to spend.

Economic growth is also worse than earlier forecasts, taking the impact of the new cuts into account.

The new forecasts suggest house prices will stabilise in the second half of next year, after falling 8% in 2013.

‘The housing market slump will continue but there is light at the end of the tunnel,’ the CBP said.


The FNV trade union federation said the leaked figures show new cuts will be ‘disastrous for the country’. The union is already planning a nationwide campaign against further austerity measures.

The CNV union federation said an unemployment rate nearing 10% is unacceptable. ‘I would call on everyone, politicians, unions, employers and potential investors to do their bit to turn the tide,’ chairman Jaap Smit said in a statement.

Opposition MPs were also highly criticial. Geert Wilders of the anti-immigration PVV called on prime minister Mark Rutte to resign.


Socialist party leader Emile Roemer said the figures show the failure of cabinet policy. ‘Rutte must either change policy or resign,’ he said.

Economist Bas Jacobs of Erasmus University told the Volkskrant he feels the CPB may have been too optimistic.

‘The CPB has consistently over-estimated economic growth and I expect the forecasts for growth, spending power, investments and unemployment are also too optimistic, he told Nos television.

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