Dutch government to pump money into business

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The Dutch government has announced plans to invest hundreds of millions of euros into nine designated sectors in the coming years and to offer 500 million euros in tax breaks to small businesses. The cabinet says that from 2015 the specified sectors will receive an annual investment of 1.5 billion euros.

Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen said the proposed investment had been outlined in the programme for government and has now been developed into an implementation plan. The money will be used to improve infrastructure, remove trade barriers and reduce red tape so the country canattract more entrepreneurs and researchers to work in these sectors.

"The cabinet has selected nine sectors where the Netherlands is particularly strong because of its geography and history," the ministry said in a statement. These are water, agri-food, horticulture, high-tech, life sciences, chemistry, energy, logistics and creative industries. Teams of experts, including a government representative, will be charged with advising the minister on the distribution of the funds.

Besides the standard financial injection - as much as 1.5 billion euros in some cases - that will be pumped each year into these sectors, an innovation fund will also be set up to enable companies to borrow capital for certain business ventures. If they're successful, the company will then pay back the original sum that was borrowed.

All companies, not just those in the priority sectors, will be eligible for tax breaks but small, innovative companies, which previously "were lost in a maze of bureaucracy" would benefit especially from lower taxes.



© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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