Ministers to look at increasing travel allowance early, but make no promises

Marnix van Rij, Sigrid Kaag and Karien van Gennip ahead of the debate. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP
Marnix van Rij, Sigrid Kaag and Karien van Gennip ahead of the debate. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

The cabinet is prepared to look at bringing forward an increase in the tax free allowance for commuting to work from next year as well as cutting fuel taxes from the beginning of this year, in an effort to boost spending power, tax minister Marnix van Rij has told MPs.

A majority of MPs had called on the government to do more to compensate people for high energy prices, including an increase in the 19 cents a kilometre tax free allowance for getting to work.

The travel allowance is due to go up in 2024. But now the four coalition parties, the Labour party and right wing opposition want this to be brought forward because of the sharp rise in fuel prices.

While agreeing to look at the options, ‘I am not going to commit to doing it,’ Van Rij said during the debate, pointing out that much of the responsibility rests with employers who will have to pay the extra amount.

MPs also want the government to look into giving more people up to €800 to compensate them for soaring energy bills. The payments are currently being made to around 800,000 households with a gross income of up to €2,200 for a couple and €1,400 a month for a single person.

An increase in the income limit, however, is not on the cards, ministers said.

‘We cannot take away all the pain for everyone with these measures,’ social affairs minister Karien van Gennip said during the debate. The measures which have been chosen, she said, are the maximum that can be done in the short term.

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