April 26, 2023 -The cabinet’s spring financial statement includes plans to cut spending across all government departments and scrap a controversial job-related training scheme but the health insurance own risk will remain €385 per year, Dutch media reported on Wednesday. The statement is an adjustment of the government’s finances six months after the presentation of the annual budget. The result will be to bring the budget deficit back to below the EU-permitted maximum of 3% of GDP. Finance minister Sigrid Kaag earlier described the plans as a ‘change of course’.
In order to remove shortfalls in funding – such as an additional €13.5 billion for Groningen – the cabinet is shaving spending off all ministerial budgets, apart from the defence ministry. It has been spared because of its role in Ukraine. Top of the list to go is the Stap scheme, a work-related training project which cost €200 million a year.
The Stap project has been slammed for funding people to go on irrelevant courses. Plans to introduce virtually free childcare for everyone will also be postponed for two years, broadcaster NOS said. That is not only down to the need to cut spending but the shortage of qualified staff which threatens to make the plan impossible to realise. Extra cash is also needed to pay for higher interest rates on government loans. The asylum system budget may also need a spending boost, insiders told the AD.