Netherlands

Left and right form coalition government led by Mark Rutte


Published

Following the general election on 12 September the two top parties have agreed to form a coalition government. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte won 41 seats whilst the Labour Party (PvdA) won 38 seats.

According to DutchNews.nl the two parties have laid out their plans up to 2017 as follows:

Taxes and finance

• The highest tax band will be cut from 52% to 49%
• The third tax band will go down from 42% to 38%
• €1bn will be cut from the development aid budget
• All workers to get an extra tax-free allowance of €500 a year by 2017

Housing market

• Mortgage tax relief will be reduced by 0.5% a year from 2014 for both new and current mortgages
• Social housing rents to rise: 1.5% plus inflation for those earning below €33,000, more for higher earners
• Housing corporations to focus again on social housing

Education

• Student grants will be replaced by loans and the fine for slow students will be scrapped.
• Free travel for students to be replaced by discount card
• Tougher standards for teachers, more practical teaching

Healthcare

• Healthcare benefit will be scrapped
• Health insurance premiums will become income-dependent
• Own risk to rise to €400 by 2017
• €50 fee for ‘unnecessary visits’ to hospital A&E departments

Employment and social security

• Earnings-dependent unemployment benefit (WW) to be cut from 38 to 24 months
• Golden handshakes to be restricted to €75,000
• Performance-related pay in financial sector to be capped at 20% of basic salary
• Bankers to swear an oath
• Quotas to be introduced on employing the handicapped

Equality

• Civil servants will no longer be able to refuse to marry gay couples
• Local councils will have the right to decide whether or not to allow Sunday shopping

Immigration and integration

• An amnesty for refugee children who lived in the Netherlands for more than five years
• Restrictions on workers from Bulgaria and Romania to be lifted in 2014
• Residency requirement to vote in local elections to be increased from five to seven years
• Immigrants to be excluded from welfare (bijstand) for first seven years of residency
• Residency requirement for nationalisation to increase from five to seven years

Public sector

• Organisations funded by public money to be banned from derivative trading
• Local government to be overhauled
• Noord Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland provincial government to be merged

Infrastructure

• Old-timers will no longer be exempt from road tax
• Regional airports to be developed
• Hedwige polder to be flooded

Other

• Plans to win the 2028 Olympics scrapped due to ‘lack of support in society’
• A ban on wild animals in circuses
• Holland Casino to be sold
• The legal drinking age for all alcohol to be increased to 18
• The cannabis card (wietpas) to be dropped, admission restrictions to remain
• Taxes to go up on alcoholic drinks and tobacco
• Prisoners to pay a contribution towards their upkeep
• Face-covering clothing banned in public buildings and on public transport.

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