Welfare benefit claims rise as coronavirus impact on jobs begins to bite

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

The number of people in the Netherlands claiming basic welfare benefits (bijstand) rose by 12,000 between the end of 2019 and end of June 2020, national statistics agency CBS said on Monday.

In total, some 427,000 people are now living on welfare, which is paid to people with no right to unemployment benefit (ww). The overall increase is the first in 2.5 years, the CBS said.

The increase in claims was particularly strong – 5% – among the under-27s, as many youngsters lost their jobs in the hospitality industry because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Many youngsters had a flexible work contract which only entitled them to three months unemployment benefit if they lost their jobs.

The increase was just 0.4% among the over-45s while there was a marginal drop in claims made by people aged 27 to 45. The increase in welfare claims cuts across all backgrounds, the CBS said.

Earlier this month, the CBS said the Dutch official jobless rate had risen marginally to 4.5% in July.

The CBS expects unemployment to rise more sharply in the second half of the year, when government schemes to help companies hit by the crisis start to wind down. The hospitality industries, tourism, logistics and the retail sector are set to be hardest hit.

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