Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem presented the cabinet’s 2015 spending plans to parliament on Tuesday, stressing the need for continued caution in the light of international turbulence.
The minister said he had opted for balanced recovery in spending power and further measures to better control government finances. ‘The effect of the crisis will continue to be felt in 2015,’ he said.
On average, people will be 0.5% better off but 29% of households will lose out, as will 43% of pensioners, the government’s calculations show.
‘Painful measures are still needed,’ Dijsselbloem said. The economy is set to grow by 1.25% next year and the budget deficit will reach 2.2%. Even though this is well below the eurozone norm, ‘we are not there yet’, he said, pointing out the government is still spending €15bn more a year than it gets in.
Unemployment is still too high and the cabinet’s priority is to create more jobs – it has a target of 100,000, the finance minister continued. The cost of employing staff will be reduced to make it easier for companies to take on new workers.
Industry is on the whole ‘well placed’, Dijsselbloem said. But measures will be taken to expand credit facilities for some small and medium-sized firms. Moves will also be made to overhaul the tax system, the finance minister said.
Speaking to RTL news after Dijsselbloem’s presentation, prime minister Mark Rutte said the theme of the budget is the need to keep on course in turbulent times.
‘We need to prepare ourselves for international threats,’ he said. ‘We need to take account of the fact that bad times could come.’
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