The 2017 Dutch budget memorandum: a summary
During this year’s Prinsjesdag the Dutch government unveiled its budget plans for 2017 along with highlighting its accomplishments over the last few years.
"The tide has turned," said Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem when he presented the Budget Memorandum for 2017. "We are back on solid ground. And we can again look further ahead and invest in opportunities for people."
He stated that public finances have improved and that next year the economy is expected to grow by 1,7 percent. All signs indicate that consumer confidence is strengthening and that businesses are investing again. After a series of difficult years due to the global financial crisis, the Netherlands is recovering at a steady pace, Dijsselbloem announced.
Public finances in better shape
While the budget deficit rose to more than 5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) at the height of the financial crisis, it’s projected to fall to 0,5 percent next year.
The national debt is expected to decline further to 62 percent of the GDP next year. Structural measures taken by the government, such as increasing the state pension age and interventions in the healthcare sector, should ensure that education, healthcare, social security and other public services remain affordable.
Purchasing power and investments in 2017
Public finances are in better shape than expected when the Second Rutte cabinet took office in 2012. That makes it possible for the government to spend 1,1 billion euros annually, starting in 2017, to strengthen purchasing power in the Netherlands.
All groups - the employed, unemployed, people on welfare and retirees - are expected to benefit from the steadily improving economic conditions.
Justice and security
The Dutch government plans to invest 1,5 billion euros in security, education and healthcare. An additional 450 million euros will be allocated for boosting security in the Netherlands, with more than 200 million euros going to the national police force.
The defence budget will be increased by 300 million euros, with more than 200 million euros intended for the military.
To fight economic inequality in the Netherlands, 100 million will be invested annually to fight child poverty. In 2014, more than 400.000 children were deemed to live in poverty.
This money will be spent on sports gear and activities, school trips or a bicycle, for example. The intention is that all children will be able to participate in sports activities, regardless of socioeconomic background.
Funds will be provided to improve equality of opportunity and to encourage and facilitate higher education for at-risk groups. The planned spending cuts in chronic healthcare have been scrapped for now.
Remainder of current cabinet period
The Rutte II government wants to introduce measures during the remainder of its term to encourage further economic investments in the Netherlands. It wants to attract more industry and business from outside, and will also focus on issues such as energy transition, sustainability, infrastructure and education.