A longer working week, more pay for teachers, and an extra tax on air transport are among the main points of the Christian Democrat’s (CDA) manifesto for the November general election. Plans to encourage a return to the 40-hour-week have already drawn fire from both unions and employers for being unnecessary.
The CDA is the first of the main parties to publish its election pledges. Liberal (VVD) party leader Mark Rutte said the manifesto showed the CDA was a party he could do business with, although it was not as ambitious as he would have liked. The current cabinet is made up of the CDA and VVD.
Labour (PvdA) leader Wouter Bos, tipped as the next prime minister, said the manifesto was full of fine words but was vague on how the plans would be put into practise.
The main points include:
* A return to the 40-hour-week, with government civil servants leading the way
* Budget surplus to 1%,
* More private investment in higher education and roads
* Tax reforms to make it more attractive to work
* More money for child benefit
* Extra tax on air travel
* Higher pay for teachers
* Cuts in civil servant numbers through a partial recruitment freeze
* State pension age to remain 65
* Mortgage tax relief unchanged
CDA leader Jan Pieter Balkenende said the party was not planning any more major overhauls of the health system or of social provisions. It was a manifesto to ‘improve’ not reform society, Balkenende said. Voters now needed a period of calm and stability.
Dutch elections, based on proportional representation, always produce coalition governments. In the latest Nipo opinion poll, the PvdA is set to take 43 of the 150 parliamentary seats, the VVD 32, CDA 30 and Socialists 20.
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