Cabinet agrees spending power measures

21st April 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm confirmed that the government has agreed a multi-million euro package to improve the public's spending power.

21 April 2006

AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm confirmed that the government has agreed a multi-million euro package to improve the public's spending power.

Speaking to reporters after Friday's Cabinet meeting, the Minister said the deal agreed by the three coalition parties is a "nice accord" and a "good political balance". He went on to say the "carry-on over purchasing power" must stop. There is no more money."

The centre-right coalition has taken a lot of flak in recent months from the trade unions who claim far-reaching reforms have done more damage to people's wallets than the government forecast.

Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan De Geus stressed the agreements applied to both this year and next. The intention is to reduce the unemployment benefit premium for employees in 2007 and an additional EUR 250 million will be made available for childcare and child benefit.

The government has also agreed to bring forward to this year its plan to scrap the EUR 52 surcharge consumers pay to stimulate the production of renewal energy. This will cost the government EUR 375 million.

An additional EUR 120 million has been earmarked to support the purchasing power of retired civil servants, one group that has lost out significantly since the introduction of the new health insurance system. And EUR 15 million will be used to increase the widows-and-orphans pension by EUR 115 a year.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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