Dutch news in brief, 22 March 2005

22nd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

Accord over cuts to jobless benefits

Accord over cuts to jobless benefits

The Social Economic Council (SER) has brokered an accord between unions and employers over the reform of WW unemployment benefits. The deal will now be presented to grassroots members. The plan aims to reduce the costs of the WW system by large reductions in benefits. A jobless worker will in future have a right to a maximum of three years and two months of WW benefits instead of the present five years. To come into consideration for benefits, a worker will need to have been employed for 27 weeks out of the past 39 weeks. Trade union confederation FNV is pleased with the accord because an obligation for unemployed people aged 50 or more to seek work has been scrapped. Employers association VNO-NCW claims the length of payments is still too long. The Cabinet is implementing wholesale budget cuts and requested the SER broker an accord amid union protests.

Pricier trendy alcohol drinks

Higher taxes means Breezers and other trendy alcoholic drinks will rise in price by EUR 0.60 next year, while a bottle of beer will rise by euro two cents in a bid to combat underage drinking. Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst has also advised the Cabinet to significantly reduce the prices of juices and mineral waters. The Parliament is opposed to the proposal, as is branch organisation VND which said youths enjoy buying expensive drinks. The market for mixed drinks fell by 50 percent in the past year and the VND said the price rise could re-inject life into the market. Hoogervorst also intends to ban alcohol commercials from early evening television and reduce the number of alcohol retail outlets.

A royal present with little thanks

Three lotteries will shortly deduct EUR 5.25 from the bank accounts of millions of participants. Those people who want to block the withdrawal will need to dial a telephone number for the cost of euro 15 cents. Besides the ticket price for their 25 May draws, the lotteries Postcodeloterij, BankGiroloterij and Sponsorloterij will also withdraw the additional EUR 5.25. And what is the money being used for: to buy a present for Queen Beatrix who is celebrating her 25th year as monarch. The association Consumer and Money Matters is enraged by the action. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said he is opposed to the lotteries charging the public to refuse the extra payment and promised MPs he will discuss the matter with the three organisations.

Guilty burglar returns EUR 5,000

A thief with a conscience has returned the EUR 5,000 he stole from a green grocer in the South Holland town of Monster. A plastic bag with the money was thrown into the grocer's shop at about 9.30am on Monday. Inside the bag was a note saying: "Sorry, I regret this". The burglar had earlier stolen the money from the premise's office on Friday night.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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