More people in debt end up in the hands of administrators

Underpayment is a common problem. Photo:
Underpayment is a common problem. Photo:

The number of people who have had to hand over the management of their finances to an administrator because of of their debts has gone up significantly in the last five years, the Council for the Judiciary said this week.

In 2018 some 56,000 people were ordered to hand over the supervision of their affairs, compared to 35,000 in 2013. This is usually because of personal problems such as addiction, chronic illness or mental problems. Over 250,000 people in the Netherlands receive support of some kind or another for the management of their finances.

The administrators’ network ZELF said that according to a poll it conducted among clients, people who are in debt and on low incomes are finding it increasingly difficult to cope, and have hardly any money left to buy groceries, clothing and transport.

Increases in rent, energy and health care costs are the main reasons for the monthly shortfall, the survey showed.

‘The net disposable income of this group has gone up by around €20 to €30 in ten years but the average price hike of goods, utilities and rent is much higher. This means they have ended up with less money in their pockets than in 2009,’ director of biggest administrator CAV Erwin Bel told the Volkskrant. Utilities and rent make up 75% of people’s expenditure, Bel said and that ‘makes their purse a ticking time bomb’.

A spokesperson for the ministry of social affairs said the purchasing power of vulnerable groups is ‘high on the agenda’ with extra money set aside for rent and healthcare allowances, and measures such tax breaks for lower income groups.

The government will announce its 2020 spending plans on September 17.

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