The government’s three main think-tanks – CPB, SCP and PBL – have called on ministers to invest in closing the growing gap in the Netherlands between the haves and have nots, and to tackle climate change, as part of their strategy to combat the impact of coronavirus.
The cabinet’s approach to coronavirus should not just focus on the economy and public health, the directors of the three agencies have told the NRC. Their message, the paper said, is that the crisis presents a perfect opportunity to tackle other ‘urgent issues’ as well.
In particular, the three directors refer to the problem of loneliness among elderly people living in nursing homes, the educational disadvantages some pupils face because of home schooling and impact of the crisis on the self employed.
Any subsequent lockdown should be more intelligent, and take the interests of the most vulnerable in society into account, Pieter Hasekamp, head of the macro-economic planning agency said.
Hans Mommaas, director of the environmental assessment agency PBL, said the government’s coronavirus strategy is also having an impact on the environment. For example, the decision to bail out KLM to the tune of €3.4bn without setting environmental conditions is a political choice, Mommaas said.
Kim Putters, who heads the socio-economic policy think-tank SCP pointed out that the cabinet had pledged to ‘invest its way out of the crisis’.
Taking care of each other might be the moral appeal to society, he said ‘but the government can invest in this too, by investing in healthcare, education and carers.’