Households have 1.4% more to spend, boosted by wage rises

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Disposable income rose by 1.4% in 2023, boosted by higher pay rises to offset the impact of inflation, latest official figures show.

Wages determined by collective bargaining agreements increased by 6% over the year, according to the statistics agency CBS, while the number of jobs grew by 1.3%.

The income of self-employed workers grew by 8.7%, with the catering, business service, property rental, real estate and agriculture sectors growing fastest.

The total amount paid out in benefits increased by 11.6%, reflecting the fact that most benefits are linked to the minimum wage, which was raised by 10% at the end of last year.

Research by Deloitte found that six in 10 Dutch households were struggling financially in 2022, up from five in 10 at the end of the previous year.

Half of those households were defined as “financially unhealthy”, meaning their income did not cover their day-to-day costs, while a similar number were “financially vulnerable”, indicating that they did not have enough savings to cope with an unexpected setback.

Young people were especially vulnerable, with 45% of people aged between 18 and 25 classed as financially unhealthy.

The CBS figures show households paid 9.1% more in taxes and social security costs, while the total mortgage debt grew by €12.9 billion.

However, the effects of inflation and falling house sales meant mortgage debts were worth less than 80% of GDP for the first time since 2001.

Mortgage debts peaked at 106% of GDP in 2012, following a 20% drop in house prices over the previous five years.

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