Cuts in rent subsidy go ahead

12th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2003, AMSTERDAM — The government is to go ahead with its plan to cut the level of rent subsidy available for lower income families by an average of EUR 12 a month from January 2004.

12 November 2003

AMSTERDAM — The government is to go ahead with its plan to cut the level of rent subsidy available for lower income families by an average of EUR 12 a month from January 2004.

Environment minister Sybilla Dekker estimates the move will save the exchequer EUR 210 million by 2007.

The rent subsidy cut got the green light this week when opponents failed to get a majority in Parliament to block it.

The Christian Democrat CDA faction said it was against a general cut in the level of rent subsidy, but refused to line up with the opposition parties to defeat Dekker's proposal.

The CDA of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende heads the government coalition with the Liberal VVD and the Democrat D66 party. Dekker is a member of the VVD.

CDA Environment spokesman Bas Jan van Bochove argued in Parliament on Tuesday that the cut should be limited to a maximum of EUR 9 for the lowest income families and that higher earners should take the brunt of the cuts, news agency ANP reported.

He also called on Minister Dekker to hold talks with landlords and tenant associations about the 2001 agreement designed to restrict rent increases to inflation plus 0.4 percent annually.

Tenants Association De Woonbond wants rent increases to be limited. It is anticipated that rents are set to rise by about 3.3 percent, but De Woonbond wants to keep this at 1.5 percent. Francis Giskes of D66 also supported calls for capping rent increases in Parliament on Tuesday.

The leftwing parties did not gain sufficient backing for their proposal that rents be frozen in 2004. Green left GroenLinks MP Ineke van Gent noted that as part of its cost-saving plans the government was freezing wage and benefit increases in 2004 and 2005. "If everyone has to give something back, landlords have to also," she said.

Van Gent lashed out at the CDA saying that the party that claims to have a "social face" was backing a very unsocial measure.

Small Christian Party ChristenUnie said it supported a "rent accord" under which cuts in subsidy would be counter-balanced by a rent freeze.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news

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