Friday 07 October 2022

Government cannot soften all the pain, finance minister says

Sigrid Kaag is the first Dutch female finance minister. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

The government can only take away part of the financial problems facing people and the bill will have to be picked up by future generations, finance minister Sigrid Kaag told MPs on Tuesday afternoon.

‘We cannot eradicate all the consequences of mounting inflation and help everyone,’ Kaag said in her speech, in which she also warned that money spent now on shoring up spending power cannot be spent on education and healthcare.

The fundamentals of the Dutch economy are strong and industry has bounced back in the wake of the pandemic, Kaag told MPs, as she handed over the government’s 2023 spending plans to parliament.

‘That foundation gives hope for the future and room in the present,’ she said.We can handle this because these exceptional times that call for exceptional measures, an outstretched hand and solidarity.’

At the same time, it is also the government’s duty to invest in tomorrow as well as help people in need at the moment, she said.

Therefore the government would also be spending €35 billion on making the country climate neutral by 2050. ‘Billions’ more will be spent on education and ensuring equal opportunities and €5 billion more has been allocated to defence, the minister said.

The Netherlands is a resilient country,’ she said.We can achieve a lot when politicians, business and society work together, when strong shoulders carry the heaviest burden.’

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