New Dutch government will have less to spend than forecast, minister confirms

Photo: Joep Poulssen

The outgoing cabinet will hand over a surplus of €1.4bn to the next administration, well down on the €3.6bn originally estimated by the macro-economic policy think-tank CPB, according to finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s spring statement.

However, the new cabinet will have more to play with in subsequent years, the spring statement shows. The surplus by 2021 is now put at €10.7bn, or 1.3% of GDP, in line with earlier forecasts.

The surplus comes from higher tax receipts (up €8bn) and less spending on unemployment benefit. Consumers are also spending more and that means they have paid more in value added tax, the minister’s statement said.

Dijsselbloem already said in April that the next cabinet should not count on having too much extra money to spend and that ‘choices will have to be made’.

Central bank president Klaas Knot has also warned the parties involved in putting together a new coalition that they should leave the surplus intact to make sure the government’s finances are sustainable in the long term.

The statement also shows unemployment is set to drop to 4.9% this year, well down on the 6.2% forecast made at last year’s budget in September. Spending on healthcare is also set to be €164m down on the budget.

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