SP not happy with budget

19th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 September 2007, THE HAGUE – The plans from the cabinet of Christian Democrat CDA, Labour PvdA and ChristenUnie show no change of direction from previous governments, only a few adjustments at most.

19 September 2007

THE HAGUE – The plans from the cabinet of Christian Democrat CDA, Labour PvdA and ChristenUnie show no change of direction from previous governments, only a few adjustments at most.

Socialist SP leader Jan Marijnissen argued this during Wednesday's debate in Parliament on the cabinet plans for next year. He said he fears that as such these plans will not "lift the country out of the stuffiness that the previous cabinet caused."

The SP wants mainly to invest in the public sector. Marijnissen said he could not understand why a prosperous country still faces a "relentless stream of reports on failings in youth care and education." Marijnissen argued for substantial investments in care and education and decried cutbacks to support for the elderly under the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act.

The SP also wants substantially more money put into purchasing power for next year and health care. That must be found by making extra cutbacks on defence and by increasing taxes on businesses and higher incomes.

These proposals are contained in an alternative budget that the largest opposition party presented during the debate on Wednesday.

The SP wants to earmark EUR 450 million to increase the minimum wage. The benefits linked to this would also be raised. The party also wants to get rid of the deductible in healthcare, put more people to work in the care sector and expand the basic health insurance package. Hundreds of millions should also be made available for education, police and public transport.

In order to finance its proposals the SP wants to make cutbacks of EUR 600 million on Defence. It also wants to set aside more money for road construction, increase the profit tax for businesses and raise tax on the highest tax bracket from 52 to 55 percent.

The CDA and ChristenUnie both want to give Defence more money because equipment needs to be replaced sooner than expected. CDA faction leader Pieter van Geel will argue in the debate today that an incidental EUR 100 million extra is needed in the coming two years in order to ensure that Defence can continue to do its job.

At the presentation of the Defence budget on Tuesday the ChristenUnie already said that several tens of millions of euro more were needed. Coalition partner PvdA did not want to support the demand because it was unclear where the money would come from.

Nor has Van Geel yet suggested where the money will come from. He wants to hear the cabinet's reaction first.

It was clear on Tuesday already that the three coalition parties would throw out the plan to make cutbacks of EUR 100 million annually to the child benefit from 2010.

The coalition parties also want school books for all of secondary education to be free, not only for the first two years, as provided for in the budget.

At the PvdA's insistence more money will probably be earmarked for fighting poverty.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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