Labour senators fight for additional child benefit for 'single' parents
Labour senators in the upper house of parliament are against plans by the Labour social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher to strip some single parents of an additional child benefit.
The row is about an extra benefit paid to single parents on basic welfare payments (bijstand).
As part of the government's changes to child benefits, a group of several thousand single parents will now miss out on the extra EUR 242 each month.
Under the new rules, parents whose partners are in prison, live in a care home or have disappeared without trace will no longer be considered as single and will therefore no longer be entitled to the extra payment.
Backs to the wall
'The government must not make changes which will force people's backs to the wall,' Marleen Barth, the Labour party's leader in the upper house, told Nos radio.
'This law will lead to huge problems for people who are already having a hard time.'
Asscher says he will not change the new rules on the extra payment and that local councils will have to pay it from their special welfare budgets.
However, Labour senators are demanding a solution, now the economy is improving and there is more money available.
'The government will look at extra measures for the lowest incomes this summer. They must look at measures for this group, too,' Barth said.
The upper house will discuss the planned changes to the child benefits system on Tuesday.