Government policies discriminate against singles

21st July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Current government puts too much emphasis on family, according to Dutch research centre.

The Hague – Single people, accounting for one-third of the Dutch population, are being discriminated against by government policies, according to the Centre for the Individual and Society (CISA).

The centre recently issued a report that identified several policies it considered unfair to singles. They include health insurance, tax policy, welfare payments, rent subsidies, estate planning and pensions.

Rent subsidies, for example, are EUR 350 less for singles than couples, even though singles earn about 70 percent of the income of couples, according to the report.

Single people also contribute a higher percentage of their own income towards health insurance than married couples.

The current estate tax policies also put singles at a disadvantage.

When a single person dies, the amount of his estate exempt from taxation is EUR 1,913. For married couple and registered partners, EUR 515,928 is exempt.

Other inequalities includes higher municipal taxes than married couples, and tax breaks for married couples that are unavailable for single people, reports de Volkskrant.

The fact that the Balkenende cabinet introduced a special children and families minister is a further sign of discrimination, CISA chairwoman Lenie de Zwaan told AD.

"By putting such a heavy emphasis on one particular lifestyle, you automatically disadvantage and disqualify other lifestyles," she continued.

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) predicted Monday that the number of single people in the Netherlands is expected to rise dramatically over the next 40 years.

Ultimately, single people will comprise half of the Dutch population in 2050, reports the statistics agency.

Both the CISA and the CBS have called on the government to address the legal inequalities between married and single people, according to de Volkskrant.

The full report is available here.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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