Government must not neglect people’s well-being, say researchers


The effect of the coronavirus crisis on the broad prosperity of the Netherlands is limited as yet, but it is affecting happiness, the annual Rabobank prosperity poll shows.

The poll, which questions people on an array of prosperity-related indicators, found that more people than last year indicated they had ‘sufficient income’ – 55.9% compared to 52.7 % last year.

But while this props up the broad prosperity of the Netherlands for now, the Dutch have suffered where social contacts, housing and happiness are concerned. Almost three in 10 respondents said they felt less happy, up five percentage points compared to last year’s poll, and this is ‘a significant deterioration’ the researchers said.

Fewer people than last year said they were happy about their home but this, researchers said, is a trend that started before the crisis. It is probable, however, that lockdown, working from home and the fact that children could not go to school made people more critical about their housing situation.

Most people still feel they are able to maintain social contact with friends and relatives but the extent to where they can physically do this was impacted significantly by the lockdown.

The researchers are warning the government that future insecurity about jobs and loss of income is likely to be exacerbated by the lack of well-being.

‘Let this be a lesson for the approach to this crisis: do not forget that, apart from health and the economy, there are other important elements that make up prosperity, particularly, now that we’re are beginning to see the first hairline fractures,’ the report said.

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