Dutch child benefits won’t increase in line with childcare costs in 2023
Miscalculations within the Dutch government mean that, in 2023, the child benefits received by parents with jobs, to help cover the costs of childcare, won’t increase in line with rising costs, RTL Nieuws reveals.
Childcare costs rising by 8,5 percent, benefit rising by just 5,6 percent
The cost of childcare in the Netherlands is set to drop significantly from January 2025, but before those changes come into effect parents will see childcare costs rise. Recent figures revealed that some families could see their rates rise by as much as 40 percent between 2022 and 2023.
While the government has announced various measures in an attempt to boost purchasing power and help offset the high rate of inflation, documents seen by RTL Nieuws show that the new rates for the government’s childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag) don’t keep up with the higher childcare costs.
While prices are rising by an average of 8,5 percent in the new year, the childcare benefit will only increase by 5,6 percent, meaning parents will have to cover a larger proportion of the costs.
Incorrect CPB forecasts led to Dutch government's mistake
According to RTL Nieuws, this error is down to inaccurate forecasts published by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB). In March, the CPB predicted that wages would rise by 2,3 percent and inflation would reach 5,2 percent, but the website notes that, in reality, “the figures are more than twice as high.”
As the higher operational costs for childcare facilities are passed on to customers in the form of higher prices, parents will be the ones who have to foot the bill. While the Ministry of Social Affairs has acknowledged the mistake, a spokesperson has said that it’s too late to adjust the benefits rates for 2023: “This can only be done again in the regular process when the maximum hourly rates for 2024 are set."
Parents in the Netherlands consider quitting jobs to save money
The oversight means many families will struggle to cover their childcare costs in the new year. 39-year-old mother of three Marte Barends told NOS that, with two of her three children attending daycare, she is “looking at whether [she] can continue to work at all.”
Living in Amsterdam, she and her partner will see their childcare costs rise by 13 percent in 2023, amounting to hundreds of euros every month. “There is a teacher shortage and I want to work and participate in society, but this is not financially possible,” Barends told NOS.
BOinK, the association representing the interests of parents who rely on childcare, says the government should have realised its mistake sooner and needs to do more to support parents. "During the coronavirus pandemic, we saw that aid can be paid quickly. And if it is not possible immediately in January, then increase the reimbursement for parents in July,” chair Gjalt Jellesma says. “The need among parents… is enormous.”