Budget leaks: Dutch economy is robust but growth is leveling off

Photo: Rijksoverheid
Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra will present his plans on Tuesday. Photo: Rijksoverheid

Everyone in the Netherlands will be better off next year, and the coalition government expects 2020 will be the seventh in a row in which the economy grows, according to leaked budget documents published by RTL Nieuws at the weekend.

Although the Dutch economy is ‘robust’, ‘international trade tensions will lead to uncertainty,’ finance minister Wopke Hoekstra says in the introduction to the annual accounts, which will be published on Tuesday alongside the coalition’s 2020 spending plans.

The cabinet expects economic growth to reach 1.8% this year and 1.5% in 2020, percentages ‘which are normal for our country,’ Hoekstra says. In addition, the Dutch economy is strong enough to ‘take a knock’, with the national debt set to fall below 50% of GDP.

There will also be more spending on affordable homes, youth care services, defence and on reducing gas extraction in Groningen.

Last week, RTL Nieuws said that spending power will go up across the board next year but middle incomes will benefit the most.

People on middle incomes – around €38,000 a year – will enjoy a 2% increase in spending power but low income households will also benefit, RTL said. The increase will be paid for by a delay in implementing corporate tax cuts and a drop in the tax benefit for freelancers.


The Dutch government is also expected to announce plans to levy more tax on multinationals in Tuesday’s 2020 budget presentation, by changing the rules on deducting losses, broadcaster NOS reported last week.

Sources in The Hague have told NOS that the changes will end the way multinationals can offset their losses outside the Netherlands from their Dutch tax bills, a move which will generate €250m for the treasury.

Earlier this year both Shell and Philips admitted they do not pay tax on their Dutch operations because of the tax break.

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