BUDGET: 'NL doing better than other EU states'

19th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 September 2006, AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is experiencing strong economic growth after years of decline and slow recovery, Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm said on Tuesday.

19 September 2006

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is experiencing strong economic growth after years of decline and slow recovery, Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm said on Tuesday.

"The Netherlands is now doing better in many aspects than the other countries of the European Union. Economic growth is higher and the State finances have been put in order in record tempo," he said as he presented the 2007 Budget.

Zalm, who has been in charge of the country's finances since 1994, was so enthusiastic he told parliament there was a "new economic perspective".

There are more jobs, purchasing power is rising and fewer people are dependent on government benefits, he said. In addition, the climate for companies setting up here is better and crime levels are down.

There will be a budget surplus for the first time since 2001, amounting to 0.2 percent in 2007. The national debt will be 48 percent of GDP, the first time it has been below 50 percent in 25 years. This puts the Netherlands 10 percent under the European average.

Next year the cabinet will priority to strengthening the economy, purchasing power, security and youth policy.

The business community will benefit from a further cut in company tax to 25.5 percent, putting it below the European average.

Zalm said the public will also benefit from tax cuts. Workers will have to pay less unemployment insurance (WW). The average wage earner will have to pay EUR 200 less in premiums.

Tax rates in the first and second brackets are being reduced, meaning an average family will pay EUR 115 less every year. This translates as a 1 percent increase in purchasing power.

The government will introduce the compulsory employers' childcare contribution in 2007 and child benefit will increase. These measures are intended to make it easier for parents to combine work and the family.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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