‘Dutch economy better than expected’

The Hague, Sep 16 (IANS) Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the Dutch economy was better than expected, but not good enough.

Presenting the national budget plan for the forthcoming year on the traditional opening day of the Dutch parliamentary year, Dijsselbloem on Tuesday said the Dutch economy was growing faster than expected after a difficult period, reported Xinhua news agency.

“The Netherlands is out of the crisis and back among the leading economies of Europe,” he said.

The Dutch economy will, according to figures by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB), grow by two percent this year, and 2.4 percent in 2016.

This recovery is, according to a forecast, driven by increasing consumer spending, as well as rising exports and investments.

In addition, the economic recovery is expected to have a positive effect on public finances.

The budget deficit will fall from 2.1 percent this year to 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

In the budget plan, the government says it has ensured as many people as possible can benefit from the recovery, while continuing its reforms aimed at creating more jobs, sustainable growth and healthy public finances.

“As the economy is picking up, the government wants the public to feel the effects. We also want to create buffers so that we can deal with any shocks during more difficult times in the future,” Dijsselbloem said.

A key aim of the budget plan is to reduce the tax burden. Next year, the government will cut taxes on labour by five billion euros ($5.6 billion), in order to generate higher economic growth and 35,000 extra jobs on a structural basis.

Although the projected growth of the Dutch economy gives cause for optimism, unemployment is still too high, and there is too little scope for growth, Dijsselbloem said.

Opposition parties were not impressed by the budget plan. Socialist Party (SP) leader Emile Roemer said there was no reason at all to cheer. “The tax plan is not profitable for everyone,” she said.

Christian Democrats (CDA) leader Sybrand Buma found that the cabinet paid too little attention to employment.

“The 600,000 people who are unemployed will feel nothing of the purchasing power plan,” Buma said.

–Indo-Asian News Servioce

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