Social report criticises government cuts

17th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

A report by the Social and Cultural Planning Office SCP has damned the government’s planned cuts. The SCP accuses the government of only looking at the financial and economic effects of the cuts without considering the social consequences.

In the two-yearly Social State of the Netherlands report, author Rob Bijl says the country is at a turning point. Up to now, the country was doing well in spite of the crisis, but prospects for the coming years are gloomy. The proposed cuts will hit just about everyone.

Psychiatric patients One of the examples that has not been thought through properly is the increase in own liability for health care insurance. It is likely that psychiatric patients will not be able to pay for treatment as a result and will end up living on the streets, while in recent years, projects to help homeless psychiatric patients have successfully got them off the streets. “In the end, it will cost society more.”

Similarly, cutting childcare allowances is short-sighted according to the SCP. Mr Bijl predicts, it will save money in the short run, but in the end more women will either decided to work less or to stop working altogether.

Feel the pinch A majority of the population is pessimistic about the future of the Netherlands. More than 60 percent see “dark clouds” above the Dutch society, even though the vast majority are not immediately concerned about their own finances. The SCP stresses that this does not mean that the country will deteriorate into a third world country. “Life will just be less pleasant in our country,” Mr Bijl says. People with lower incomes in particular, who have been catching up in recent years will feel the pinch.

The government does not see any reason to adjust its austerity measures. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says if the government does not take action, the consequences will be much worse. The opposition Labour Party, Green Party, Socialist Party have backed the SCP’s criticisms of the government.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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