Dutch party SP calls on council to stop expats displacing Amsterdammers
The Socialist Party (SP) has called on the municipality of Amsterdam to take measures against the displacement of residents of Amsterdam, "Amsterdammers", by expats and international students.
The blame game
According to SP councillor Erik Flentge, “The city will become completely out of balance if the influx of expats with tax advantages continues to push up the house prices.” He also expresses that, “Amsterdammers who are looking for a job should have the chance and not be driven out by expats”. His article, published on the Amsterdam branch of the SP's website, goes on to state, “Those who have been living, working or studying longer in the city should have the chance to get a job and should get priority when it comes to getting a house”.
Flentge’s remarks result from a report, published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), which addresses population growth in the Dutch capital. In the report, CBS’ new figures illustrate an increase of 10.000 people in Amsterdam, to a great extent due to the influx of international workers.
Victims of the housing shortage
Amsterdammers are not the only ones who are having problems when it comes to finding a place in the city. According to research by the International Community Advisory Platform (ICAP), 80 percent of expats don’t get help with housing costs and the majority are paying too much rent.
In fact, many expats “pay rents that Dutch people would find absurd”, says Deborah Valentine, a board member of ICAP. According to Valentine, some expats have no choice but to pay high rents, as they need a place to live and do not have a network to help them understand the Dutch housing system. Not all expats receive the 30% ruling tax benefit either, as the survey exemplifies, with 25 percent of expats earning less than 3.000 euros per month.
Priority for Amsterdammers?
SP wants Amsterdammers to get priority for new-build homes and to stop people from buying up houses to then rent them out. The political party also wants the council to make agreements with international companies about the hiring of local people and the relocation of expats to the region. SP is responsible for the housing portfolio in Amsterdam.
The opinions of the SP party are not shared by all Dutch parties. Chairman of the Amsterdam South city district council, Sebastiaan Capel, calls Flengte’s remarks “xenophobic and populist”, he goes on to say that, “everybody is welcome in our city, no matter where you are born”.
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