Turning down the Groningen gas tap will cost up to €2bn

finance minister Jeroen DijsselbloemThe decision to reduce the volume of gas extracted from under Groningen province will cut treasury income by between €1.5bn and €2bn this year, according to finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

The exact impact on the government’s finances is hard to assess, the minister said on television chat show Pauw. ‘But the financial damage could be higher,’ he said.

However, the government has enough financial leeway to absorb the cut, because the budget deficit is going down more quickly than anticipated, Dijsselbloem said.

The cabinet agreed in January to further reduce the volume of gas extracted in the first half of the year to 16.5 billion cubic metres.

That decision was taken because of mounting fears about the impact of earthquakes in the province. The quakes are caused by the land settling once the gas has been taken out.

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