Saturday 26 September 2020

VVD calls for cuts totalling €24bn to ‘rebuild’ the Netherlands

The ruling right-wing Liberal party published its manifesto for the September general election on Friday and called for spending cuts of €24bn to restore order to government finances.

‘We can only emerge from this crisis in a stronger position if we are prepared to take tough measures now,’ prime minister and VVD campaign leader Mark Rutte said. ‘We need to straighten out the government’s finances, [in one four-year period] or we will end up like southern Europe.’

At the same time, the party is pledging to cut taxes by €5bn and spend an extra €3bn on education, public safety and infrastructure.
The savings will be made by chopping €9bn from the social security budget, €7bn from healthcare, €3bn on development aid and €5bn across other departments.
The plans involve dropping several measures agreed by five parties in the spring austerity agreement: commuters will not face a tax on their travel expenses and employers will not be made responsible for the first six months of unemployment benefit.
The main points:

  • Total cuts of €24bn
  • €3bn extra for education, public safety and infrastructure
  • €3bn to be cut from aid budget
  • The planned commuter tax will not be introduced
  • Unemployment benefit will be increased but for a shorter period. Employers will not pay the first six months
  • Shopkeepers to have free choice about opening on Sunday
  • State pension age to rise to 67 in 2018
  • Student grants and fines for slow students to be scrapped
  • Basic healthcare package to be reduced
  • Visits to family doctors to fall under own risk payment
  • €250m a year to be spent on new roads
  • Mortgage tax relief to be scrapped for all but repayment mortgages
  • Lower house of parliament to be reduced from 150 to 100 MPs, senate from 75 to 50 senators
  • Pay freeze for civil servants to 2014
  • Tougher immigration rules, possibly through EU opt-out
  • €2bn annual reduction in Dutch contribution to Brussels
  • Public television channels to be reduced from three to two
  • No tax on savings up to €35,000

    Sources: VVD, Volkskrant, Nos

    What do you think about the VVD’s plans? Have your say using the comment box below.

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