Inflation falls slightly in May but the poor are being disproportionately affected

Underpayment is a common problem. Photo:

The Dutch rate of inflation fell in May when compared to April, but remains high at 8.8%, national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday.

Calculated according to the Dutch method, inflation was 9.6% in April but has now fallen 0.6 percentage points, largely as a result of changing fuel prices.

When calculated according to European methods, which exclude the impact of social housing, inflation fell one percentage point to 10.2% in May. In April the harmonised rate was 11.2%.

The OECD said on Wednesday that the poorest Dutch households are now spending almost 9% more than they did seven years ago, taking inflation and wage increases into account. The figures are the highest in an analysis of eight OECD member states, including Britain, the United States and Germany.

Most of that is down to the cost of fuel and energy, but more expensive food also had a role. ‘Price increases for food and energy disproportionately affect poorer households,’ the OECD said.

In Poland, which was second on the list, the poorest households are spending 7.5% more than they did in 2015.

The OECD looked at the impact of inflation on the richest and poorest 20% of the population across all member countries. The richest Dutch households have increased their spending by 5% since 2015.

The Paris-based agency said the Dutch government should do more to support the poorest households and speed up efforts to lessen dependence on fossil fuels.

An ‘stress test’ by the Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) on Thursday found that if prices stay high, particularly for energy, up to 1.2 Dutch million households will have problems paying their monthly bills.

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