Zalm: middleclass finances to rebound
17 Amsterdam , AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm has said he expects purchasing power among the middleclass in the Netherlands to start improving in 2006.
AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm has said he expects purchasing power among the middleclass in the Netherlands to start improving in 2006.
This would come about because of economic growth, low inflation and the abolition of the user's portion of the OZB property tax, the Liberal VVD minister said in an interview with newspaper De Telegraaf.
Zalm also predicted that the tax on company profits can be lowered further than the government had planned from 2007.
But his news for the jobless was less positive. Zalm said, as far as he was concerned, the length of time people were entitled to WW unemployment benefit could be cut, starting from next year.
The middleclass in the Netherlands has been hit by higher health insurance and other increased costs in recent times, leaving the group with less disposable income.
Zalm said he sympathised, but there was nothing more he could do for people in the middle-income bracket this year. The government has already announced measures to help out the lower paid who have been hit by a raft of government cutbacks.
But he said 2005 would be the last year of belt-tightening for the middleclass. Nevertheless, he could not put a percentage on the improvement he predicted for 2006 — but he promised middle-income earners would be "in the plus".
Zalm also said that the Netherlands would reap the benefits in the coming years of the government's pruning of the WAO worker disability pension system, the abolition of tax benefits on early retirement pension schemes and the creation of a new healthcare insurance structure.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news