Friday 14 May 2021

Manifestos show a rise in government spending and taxes: CPB

Pieter Hasekamp, left, and Hans Mommaas (speaking) during the press conference. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

Spending is set to increase in the next cabinet period, particularly on healthcare and education, the government’s macro-economic policy unit CPB said on Monday, following an analysis of manifestos for this month’s general election.

Traditionally in the Netherlands, political parties submit their election plans to the CPB and the Environment Assessment Agency (PBL) to find out their likely impact on spending and a wide range of policy issues.

This year’s manifestos will lead to a slight rise in spending power across the board, but will place the burden for paying for changes on future generations, the CPB said.

Only the VVD and D66 do not plan any increase in taxes on business in the coming cabinet period, and the VVD is not planning any increase in spending on healthcare, the agency noted.

Many parties too have said they want to reform the current complicated system of supplementary benefits for low income households. And almost all parties will worsen the government’s finances by 2025, mainly in the form of a higher budget deficit, the CPB said.

The far right PVV and FvD, and the pro-animal PvdD, did not submit their manifestos for checking.

Presenting the findings, CPB director Pieter Hasekam said that the current economic circumstances – the deep recession due to coronavirus – make economic developments extremely uncertain.

Housing

Six parties also submitted their manifestos to the PBL, but not the ruling VVD. The agency found GroenLinks has the most ambitious climate targets – with a plan to cut CO2 emissions by 60% by 2030.

But none of the party plans would do enough to solve the current shortage of housing, the PBL said.

Given the nature of the Dutch political system and the need to form coalitions, the manifesto commitments are more of a statement of intent than a firm pledge.

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