Wednesday 23 September 2020

€777m for local government, Amsterdam plans to put up local taxes

Some government money will go to local cultural organisations. Photo: Depositphotos.com

The cabinet is allocating a further €777m to help local and provincial councils with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on their income.

The money comes on top of the €566m already injected into local government in May and will be used across a range of services, including health boards, community services, and cultural institutions.

‘It is important that everyone can continue to count on good services, from healthcare to public transport, from help with finding a job to local law enforcement and the provision of cultural and sports activities,’ home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren said in a briefing to MPs.

Most of the cash – €350m – will be allocated to local health boards which have been charged with setting up coronavirus testing centres and carrying out contact tracing.

Meanwhile in Amsterdam, the entire opposition is gearing up to oppose city council plans to increase local property taxes sharply in an effort to help pay for the crisis, the Telegraaf said.

Council finance chief Victor Everhardt said in July that coronavirus will cost the city some €350m in lost income from tourist taxes and parking fees.

‘An increase in taxes is one area in which there is unity,’ a town hall source told the paper.  It says all nine opposition parties are against any increase in local taxation.

Marianne Poot, leader of the local VVD party, which is the biggest opposition party in the capital, told the paper that is the job of the city’s coalition to show it is there for all Amsterdammers – even those who own home or company premises.

ChristenUnie councillor Don Cedar said it would be ‘unacceptable’ if the council pressed ahead with ‘expensive prestige projects like a new library in Zuidas and a theatre in Sloterplas, financed by higher taxes for Amsterdammers’.

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