Sunday 25 August 2019

Budget will make NL stronger, safer and more prosperous: finance minister

Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra presents the budget to parliament. Photo: Laurens van Putten via Hollandse Hoogte

Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra told MPs on Tuesday afternoon that government policy in the coming years is aimed at making the country ‘stronger, safer and more prosperous’

The minister was outlining the government’s strategy, following the official opening of the parliamentary year by king Willem-Alexander.

‘Our current wealth is no guarantee for prosperity in the future,’ Hoekstra told MPs. This is why the government is investing in society, and boosting spending power for citizens, the finance minister said.

Macro-economic

The economic substance of the government’s plans leaked out earlier. Hoekstra forecasts an average rise in spending power of 1.5%, that the economy will grow 2.6% and that the structural budget deficit will reach 0.4% of GDP, just above the 0.5% limit set down in eurozone regulations.

Despite the rosy picture, the minister warned his audience about stormy waters ahead in the shape of trade wars and Brexit which, he said, ‘threatens our exports, our jobs and our wallets’.

Prime minister

Speaking after Hoekstra’s presentation, prime minister Mark Rutte confirmed that the government will press ahead with the controversial plans to scrap the dividend tax, despite the fact only 11% of the population support it.

‘The worry is that a couple of the biggest Dutch companies may leave and we have to prevent that,’ Rutte said. If those companies do leave, the prime minister said, ‘jobs, innovation and the stock exchange’ would all be affected.’

Parliament will debate the government’s plans on Wednesday and Friday.

DutchNews.nl will publish a full list of the main points of the budget on Wednesday morning.

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