ANP Chamber members in consultation during the General Deliberations
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 07:58
Marleen de Rooy
reporter The Hague
Marleen de Rooy
reporter The Hague
The plans to further increase the minimum wage, stop the excise tax increase, increase childcare allowance and allocate more money for public transport must continue. The House of Representatives thinks so, as a tour shows.
The government is very critical of the plans and motions that the House of Representatives put forward in the debate after Budget Day to further support the purchasing power of citizens. Yet the parties in Parliament do not intend to drop their ambitions.
According to the outgoing cabinet, many of the expenditures are financially shaky and not well substantiated. Such as the tax on the purchase of their own shares by companies, an item with which the House of Representatives expected to raise 1.2 billion euros. According to the cabinet, that is only 814 million. And technically the levy cannot be introduced next year, but only in 2025.
The bank tax, which should also generate money, could lead to banks moving their head offices to other countries where this tax does not exist, the cabinet suggested in a critical letter that went to Parliament last week.
Members of Parliament reject the criticism that the House is making unwise proposals. The opposition calls it “a bit lame” that the cabinet is pretending that the motions are ill-considered. “These are simply different choices that the House makes,” it said, adding that these types of measures have been thinking about these types of measures for much longer.
Two weeks ago, during the General Political Reflections, it became clear that the House mainly wants to chart its own course now that the cabinet is outgoing. Discussions in the corridors between coalition and opposition parties led to proposals to amend the budget by around 4 billion euros.
The House is not completely deaf to the cabinet’s criticism. Behind the scenes, the parties are looking for additional coverage to pay for the plans. In the run-up to the Financial Considerations, Wednesday and Thursday, there is a lot of calculation and phone calls with each other.
If it is not possible to free up extra money, there is a chance that, for example, the minimum wage will not increase as much. Because it is clear that MPs only want to submit fully covered plans.
Governing party D66 also says that the cabinet’s critical letter does not detract from its ambitions to do more for minimum and middle incomes. D66 calls the fact that the tax on the purchase of own shares, which would partly pay for an increase in the minimum wage, will only be possible in 2025 as a setback. “We also want the plans to be paid for properly.”
The government also criticized the plans not to increase excise duties on petrol and diesel by taking money from the national growth fund. It would mean that some innovative projects to make the economy more sustainable could no longer continue. However, a majority of parties still seem to support that choice.
MP Eelco Heinen of the VVD points out that not only the lowest incomes, but also the middle incomes are having a hard time. Stopping the upcoming excise tax increase is a measure that helps precisely that group, he says.
The government will use the coming days to draw the parties’ attention to the financial consequences of their plans. But for now they are sticking to their guns. Of course, backing down during election times is not an attractive option. It is therefore very important for all parties to realize as many of their own plans as possible.