What’s changing in the Dutch governmental budget
On September 19, Prinsjesdag took place in the Netherlands and with it came the ceremonial speech presented by the King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander marking the opening of the new parliamentary year.
This year, no major policy announcements could be made, as the Dutch government has yet to form a coalition. However, there were a few important statements given and the outgoing Cabinet presented the annual budget for 2018, as they are required to do so by law.
Nevertheless, this budget is not set in stone, as the new government will present its final financial plans once it has formed.
The current financial climate in the Netherlands
In his speech, the King of the Netherlands addressed the current financial stance of the country, stating that public finances are healthy and the economy is flourishing. This year the economy grew by 3,3 percent, and is expected to grow by 2,5 percent next year with a budget surplus of 0,8 percent GDP.
He also commented that more people are finding jobs in the Netherlands, with unemployment expected to fall to 4,3 percent (390.000 people) next year. More people are buying a house and businesses are investing more. However, not everyone is profiting from this prosperity and it is important that they do.
The following issues were also addressed in the King’s speech:
The Kingdom of the Netherlands - Caribbean
Extra money will be made available to coast guards to fight cross-border crimes. A good education and poverty reduction are also essential, and the government, which recently made agreements regarding poverty reduction with the new government of Curaçao, will offer practical support to local initiatives.
Money will be set aside for the criminal prosecution and trial of the perpetrators, which will be held in the Netherlands.
Gas extraction in Groningen
Gas extraction has been cut down by almost half during the term of the current government and per October 1, it will be reduced even further. A compensation fund and protocol are also in the works.
2018 Dutch annual governmental budget
The outgoing Cabinet provided a budget for next year in which they mention aspects, such as Dutch health insurance, which will affect those living in the Netherlands. This budget will, however, not be confirmed until the new coalition is formed.
The following financial plans were announced:
Dutch Health Insurance and nursing homes
In 2018, Dutch health insurance premiums will rise, as expected, by around six euros per person per month. Eigen risico (“own risk”) will also increase from the current 385 euros to 400 euros. In trend with the growing healthcare costs, the healthcare allowance max will also increase.
Nursing homes will receive 435 million euros annually and another 130 million euros will be added to this amount in the next four years.
The government is investing 425 million euros in improving and repairing the purchasing power of all households. This is set to grow by 0,6 percent on average. Those in employment will see the biggest increase in purchasing power; 0,8 percent is expected.
The budget addresses the salaries of teachers in primary education, with an injection of 270 million euros. This equals an increase of around 500 to 1000 euros per year for teachers, however, this is a fraction of what they asked for and are willing to strike for on October 5.
For education, culture and science, 35,4 billion euros has been set aside. Another 6,2 million euros will be invested in “green” education - schools educating pupils for a future in horticulture or agriculture, as the number of pupils in this sector is rising.
Dutch Roads and environment
The major highway network will receive 2,6 billion euros, which will result in 268 kilometres of new traffic lanes. A new law is also on the way that will allow for heavier penalties of those who violate laws when driving. Another 8,4 billion will be invested in infrastructure and the environment.
Further budgetary inclusions
Amongst other budgetary decisions, the government has decided to set aside 160 million euros for public safety and security, 25 million euros extra for the Dutch food safety board NWA and 75 million euros for the Dutch tax office Netherlands (Belastingdienst), so that they can tackle their organisational issues.