Socialist Party wants to scrap special jobless benefit for politicians

The Netherlands has never had a female prime minister. Photo:

Socialist MP Ronald van Raak has introduced a private members bill which would stop ministers and MPs who lose their jobs from claiming more unemployment benefit than the man in the street, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday.

MPs and ministers who lose their seat or their job are entitled to 80% of their salary for one year – a benefit known as wachtgeld. Subsequent payments which can last several years are made at 70% rate.

Traditional unemployment benefit (ww) has a similar set-up but is being cut back to 24 months from April next year, and has a daily maximum pay-out of just under €200.

‘The bill is not aimed at teasing politicians but at removing their preferential treatment,’ Raak said. If they think that ordinary unemployment benefit is not enough for them, they should increase it for everyone.’

Big bill

Former MPs, ministers and junior ministers have cost the treasury almost €20m in unemployment benefits over the past five years, television news show EenVandaag reported this January.

One former MP has been claiming benefits for over 16 years while one former junior minister has been given €465,000 in payments over five years, the figures show.

In total 178 MPs, 18 ministers and 15 junior ministers had claimed wachtgeld, over the past five years, averaging €93,000 each.

Former politicians who get a job which does not pay as much as being an MP can claim top-up benefits.

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