Cabinet refuses pledge on spending power
9 March 2006, AMSTERDAM — The trade union movement failed to secure a commitment from the government to support the public's purchasing power.
9 March 2006
AMSTERDAM — The trade union movement failed to secure a commitment from the government to support the public's purchasing power.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Thursday the government is prepared to study evidence compiled by the FNV and MHP unions that many pensioners and households have suffered a serious drop in income recently.
The major causes for this are higher premiums under the new health insurance system and rising energy prices.
The annual spring talks between the government, unions and employers were brought forward to Thursday due to concerns about a drop in purchasing power. The government had promised few if any households would be adversely affected by its policies.
Balkenende said the situation would be reviewed during the course of the year but he was not prepared at this stage to give a commitment to compensate the public.
The employers' organisation VNO-NCW expressed unhappiness at the government decision to mount a review. This "endless talking about purchasing power" gave off a bad signal and damaged consumer confidence," Bernard Wientjes of the VNO-NCW said.
He said further discussions on the subject would be left to the government and the unions. "We are not going to get involved," he said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news