Defence spending, income tax cuts at centre of budget talks
Negotiations to finalise the government’s 2015 spending plans are focusing on boosting defence spending and cutting income tax, Dutch media report on Monday afternoon.
The leaders of the D66 Liberal democrats and minor Christian parties ChristenUnie and SGP joined ministers on Monday morning to put the final touches to the budget, which will be presented to parliament in four weeks time.
Ministers need opposition support to ensure their plans pass in the upper house of parliament where there is no majority government support.
The three opposition parties, which have already helped the government with reforms to pensions, education and the care industry, are keen to see lower taxes and more money for the defence and justice ministries on the table.
According to the Telegraaf, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold is particularly concerned about the spending power of middle income families and wants to see a cut in income tax.
‘That would be good for the economy and for jobs,’ Pechtold told reporters ahead of the talks.
The SGP and ChristenUnie parties also want to see tax cuts.
All three opposition parties stress that tax cuts and extra spending on defence should not have an impact on the budget deficit or national debt.
According to the NRC, the three opposition parties also want extra cash for development aid in line with the commitment to spend a fixed percentage of GDP on aid.
There are no plans for an extra round of spending cuts on top of the EUR 50bn in structural reductions already made, the NRC says.
So far, all those involved in the talks are positive about reaching a satisfactory result, the papers say.