Ministers discuss purchasing power

15th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 August 2007, THE HAGUE – Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and the other relevant ministers are meeting on Wednesday for the first time since the recess to discuss the budget for next year. The greatest problem seems to be the development in purchasing power.

15 August 2007

THE HAGUE – Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and the other relevant ministers are meeting on Wednesday for the first time since the recess to discuss the budget for next year. The greatest problem seems to be the development in purchasing power.

New figures from the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) indicate that households are in danger of losing an average of 0.5 percentage point or more in purchasing power next year, twice as much as estimated earlier. Pensioners and minimum wage earners could find themselves losing up to 1 percentage point. Elderly people receiving only the state pension or a small private pension could lose out even more if the government does not take measures.

The fall in purchasing power is partly due to rising health insurance premiums and tax measures included in the coalition accord. The wage increases in collective labour agreements are also turning out to be lower than expected.

Finance Minister Wouter Bos promised Parliament before the summer that he would do his best to prevent lower and middle incomes from losing purchasing power in 2008.

One advantage for Bos is that the government finances for next year are looking better than expected. The current deficit will turn into a surplus of more than 1 percent next year. That is due however primarily to temporary windfalls.

Economic Affairs Minister Maria van der Hoeven said before the meeting on Wednesday: "The meeting will be about money, that always has to be discussed, because everyone has their wishes."

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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