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More needs to be done quickly to fight poverty. This is the message of the opposition to the government and the coalition in the debate on the Spring Memorandum, the annual amendment of the national budget.
PvdA and GroenLinks both want the government to come up with a “strong social package” against poverty before the summer. If not, they will vote against the measures in the Spring Memorandum. “A decent income for all should be the most important task of the House of Representatives and the government,” said PvdA leader Atci Koyken. “We won’t wait until August, now is the time,” said GroenLinks’ Jesse Claver.
The two left parties use their position in the Senate, where the coalition does not have a majority. Without the support of PvdA and GroenLinks, the Senate Cabinet can only have a majority with the support of the BBB.
This party also believes that more purchasing power is quickly needed. “In our cold country, close to a million people live in poverty,” said Caroline van der Plas, leader of the BBB. Or at least that’s where we’re going. Just like PvdA and GroenLinks, BBB believes large corporations and the wealthy should be taxed more to raise money for purchasing power reforms.
The richest country in the world
PVV MP Tony van Dijk stated in the debate that the Netherlands had become “unbearable” for many people. According to the PVV, the energy tax should be reduced, the tax on groceries too, and significant cuts can be made on asylum reception.
Socialist Party leader Lillian Marinsen said the Red Cross provides food aid to about 400,000 people. “In – according to the Prime Minister – the richest country in the world.” And this is while large companies achieve “the highest profits ever.” “What is the minister going to do about it?” she said in directives to Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag, who will speak later today.
Two opposition parties on the right say attention should also be paid to the middle class. JA21 leader Joost Erdmans said: “You’re not only talking about low incomes, but also about the working poor.” “Middle-earners,” said SGP member Chris Stauffer. “Reports come out regularly that they can no longer do that.”
The coalition parties understand that measures are needed for purchasing power, but they don’t want them right away. “We will receive new estimates in the summer,” said VVD member Eelco Heinen. Then we know how wages evolve and inflate. Then we can do something about purchasing power.
Steven Van Weinberg (D66) also pointed Prinsjesdag, so after the summer. He acknowledged that “poverty must be reduced”. “We will have figures in August, and then I want the government to present a package,” he added. CDA MP Evert-Jan Slotweg has confirmed that a decision will be announced in Prinsjesdag, but believes it would be wise if the government informed us of the options being considered.
The Cabinet had announced earlier that it would consider new measures for next year against excessive decline in purchasing power. But that won’t be negotiated until August, during talks on the next budget.
There is no free money
In the Spring Memorandum, the Cabinet took the first steps towards cuts and the VVD commended Kaag for this. Heinen: “The button was turned on after years of spending. The realization slowly began that free money didn’t exist.” The deputy predicts that the Cabinet will have to provide another 10 to 20 billion euros.
That is why Heinen’s cabinet must look for expenditures that can be cut. “Not because it makes account holders happy, but because it makes people happy.” The MP cited criticism from the State Council, which came in response to the Spring Memorandum, that the government is taking too many financial risks.
Where the VVD favors cuts over higher corporate costs, for example, this does not apply to D66. “The burdens will be fully dealt with in the fall,” Van Weinberg emphasized.
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