Budget reactions in brief, 21 September 2005

21st September 2005, Comments 0 comments

Immigration disadvantage ignored

Immigration disadvantage ignored

Despite all kinds of initiatives to increase the integration of immigrants in Dutch society, the government is paying too little attention to the big disadvantages faced by first and second generation newcomers, multicultural development group Forum claims. In reaction to Budget 2006, Forum said the worrying situation had to be tackled more intensively in the coming years. Otherwise the integration drive would achieve little. Forum pointed to problems in education and the labour market resulting in many immigrants being unable to get a job. Noting that the Cabinet was delighted to report a 0.3 percent drop in unemployment among newcomers, Forum said the 16 percent jobless rate among immigrants and their children was "gigantic" and the government's targets were too low.

Better odds in a casino

"The public would be better off going to a casino in search of the good times promised by the Cabinet. It is a gamble who gets what." This was the reaction of Hague Mayor Wim Deetman to the 2006 budget unveiled on Tuesday. Deetman, who is also chairman of the association of Dutch municipalities (VNG), was particularly critical of the government's plan to scrap the users' portion of the property tax (OZB). He said this was not a good way to ease the financial burden on the public because about 10 percent of households (including low-income families) would not benefit. The biggest winners would be owners of expensive houses, Deetman said.

Seniors group worried by health reforms

ANBO, a lobby group for people aged 50 and above, expressed concerns the new healthcare system being introduced on 1 January would negatively impact seniors. The organisation questioned whether seniors would be able to obtain comprehensive health cover for the future and whether they would be able to meet the rising cost of healthcare. A new universal basic healthcare package replaces the current two-tier public-private system in 2006. The ANBO said people aged 65 plus will experience a drop in purchasing power despite government promises of compensation.

Care homes welcome extra funds

Arcares, the organisation representing nursing homes, welcomed the additional EUR 80 million Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst is making available next year. "It is a beginning," Arcares said in reaction to the budget unveiled on Tuesday. Nursing homes have come in for sharp criticism in recent times in relation to the quality of care they provide. Arcares said many of the problems could be dealt with thanks to the extra funds.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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