Around 40,000 Rotterdammers on low wages will receive a one-off bonus of €50 from the city council in a move that has been criticised as an electoral gimmick by opposition parties.
Anyone earning up to 130% of the minimum wage will be eligible for the subsidy, which will cost the municipality €2.3 million in total.
Leefbaar Rotterdam, the largest party on the city council, argued that the gap between the lowest earners and those on welfare support was too low. ‘Rotterdam wants to send out a message that work pays,’ said council group leader Ronald Buijt. ‘A person on welfare costs the government up to €1400 a month while people in work are paying taxes.’
‘This administration has been cutting back on the numerous advantages for people on welfare. This is the next step,’ added Buijt. Coalition partners CDA and D66 supported the move.
But other parties across the spectrum were critical of the measure. Labour (PvdA) leader Leo Bruijn said the bonus stigmatised people who were unable to find work, while VVD spokeswoman Antoinette Laan accused Leefbaar Rotterdam of trying to buy votes. ‘This is throwing money away on a handout when it could have been spent on people who are really badly off or on maintaining the city’s roads,’ she said.
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