Local councils are drawing up their own rules about how to give €1,300 to poor households to help pay their energy bills, the Volkskrant reported on Monday.
National government has said the benefit should be paid to households with an income of up to 120% of the basic welfare payment – which is €1756.10 for a couple and €1266 for a single person – but some local authorities are increasing the income limit to 130% or even 150%, as Utrecht has done.
At the same time, 1 council – Eemsdelta in north-eastern Groningen – has opted to restrict the benefit to people with the lower income of up to 110% of the accepted social minimum. It says it cannot afford to pay residents a higher benefit.
Local councils are responsible for paying welfare and other benefits and have the leeway to make their own choices.
Nevertheless, some experts are concerned about the way the energy bill standard is being applied and family spending institute Nibud has described the current system as a lottery.
Some three quarters of the Netherlands 345 local authorities took part in the survey.
Two thirds of the councils which took part also said they were looking at ways to help students, who have been excluded in most areas from the energy bill payment system.
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