Amsterdam student wins right to apply for energy bill help


Amsterdam city council was wrong to exclude all students as a group from claiming a one-off payment to help with soaring energy bills, a court ruled on Tuesday.

The case was brought by student Melle van der Geest who said he had been wrongly rejected for the €1,000 payout because he was a student. The city had argued that students as a group were not comparable to people living on minimum incomes.

The court said its ruling did not mean all students would qualify for the cash, because it depended on whether or not they met the other conditions. However, in Van der Geest’s case, the council now has six weeks to reconsider its decision.

In addition, the court said, the council has not properly demonstrated its claim that giving the payout to students would ‘over compensate’ them as a group.

The city has extended the cash to 72,000 households and 14,000 others have requested the money. Some 41,000 students live in the Dutch capital. Although the money comes from central government, local authorities have been charged with administering the payouts.

In Nijmegen, where the council lost a similar case, all students now qualify for the benefit. As yet it is unclear what Amsterdam’s position now is.

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