Dutch budget deficit falls to 2.5 percent, as household spending declines
The Dutch budget deficit fell to 2.5 percent in 2013, well below the EU’s 3 percent limit, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.
The economy grew 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter of the year, compared with the previous quarter, the CBS said. Despite the growth in the fourth quarter, the economy contracted by 0.8 percent in 2013 as a whole.
Nevertheless, the national debt rose by EUR 16 billion to EUR 443 billion or 73.5 percent of gross national product.
This is well above the EU limit of 60 percent and was largely due to the nationalisation of the SNS financial services group last February, the CBS said.
Government income rose EUR 7 billion to EUR 285 billion, mainly due to higher taxes – particularly income and energy taxes.
This also meant households had less disposable cash to spend – a drop of 1.1 percent compared with 2012, when spending power fell 2.2 percent.
Wages rose by an average of 1.2 percent but inflation was more than double that at 2.5 percent.
The absenteeism rate also fell to 3.9 percent – this means 39 out of very 1,000 workers were off sick.
This is the lowest figure since the CBS began calculating the absenteeism rate in 1996.
People are less likely to stay off work sick because of fears they could lose their jobs, the CBS said.
Since 2002, employers have been fully responsible for getting sick employees back to work.