Verhofstadt denies cuts in family benefits
21 September 2005, BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has denied he is going to cut child benefits as part of a reform package at the start of the parliamentary term.
21 September 2005
BRUSSELS – Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has denied he is going to cut child benefits as part of a reform package at the start of the parliamentary term.
The denial was issued by his spokesman after press reports that child benefits could be targeted in the revamping of social security rights.
Both Le Soir and De Tijd had reported that the government wanted to cut the money granted to families for their first child.
“There is no government note on this subject,” said the spokesman. “It is premature to draw conclusions at this stage about what will feature in the general statement from the government.”
He added that the only document currently on the table was general notes from a working group that gave an inventory of different spending
The prime minister expressed regret that the presentation of his new social security package had been disrupted by the leaking of false information.
Verhofstadt is under pressure to produce a credible reform package for Belgium's social security system and is already facing down criticisms from his political opponents ahead of its publication.
One of the most controversial points of the dossier will be planned changes to retirement benefits.
The centre right has now accused Verhofstadt of targeting younger as well as older citizens.
Despite the denials from the Verhofstadt camp, sources from within his Liberal VLD party said the idea had been mooted in an informal policy paper but admitted it had been unpopular.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news