Tough opposition to government’s pension reforms, ahead of vote

The cabinet’s plan to reform the corporate pension system are under fire on Tuesday during a debate in the senate, or upper house.

The cabinet wants to reduce the amount people can put towards a pension scheme tax free from 2.25% to 1.85% of annual salary. This will save the treasury some €3bn.

However, the three main opposition parties – the Christian Democrats, left-wing liberal D66 and christian ChristenUnie – will take some convincing if the government is to win the vote later this evening.

The coalition parties liberal democrats VVD and Labour are eight votes short of a majority in the senate.

Off the table

Christian Democrat senator Wopke Hoekstra advised the government to take the plan off the table completely rather than to try and make small adjustments, the Volkskrant reports. He called the plan ‘a grab from the cash box of the future’.

‘People will be paying for a lower and slower pension while paying the same amount of money if premiums do not fall,’ Joris Backer of D66 told the chamber. He added that he does not expect premiums to fall.

Peter Ester of the ChristenUnie said the government is basing its figures on a working life of forty years. But most of today’s youngsters will not achieve this. ‘Work is getting ever more flexible, something this cabinet has encouraged,’ he said.

The debate continues. This evening after dinner junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma and junior finance minister Frans Weekers will defend the plan.

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