Wages must start to rise: Finance minister

Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem wants to raise wages wherever possible, telling RTL Z on Tuesday that "this also stimulates the national demand and that is good for the economy." The Cabinet-planned tax reforms should lower tax burdens for companies and citizens, and should also create jobs, De Volkskrant reports.

The statement  from Jeroen Dijsselbloem is in reaction to a comment from PvdA MP Henk Nijboer who believes that wages have to rise in industrial branches where it is justified. On Tuesday, Nijboer said that the Dutch economy is recovering, which the people now have to benefit from as well. "Many companies save their money, while the average household barely has any money to spend. It is therefore high time that wages rise in those sectors where it is possible", which Nijboer believes is fair and wise.

Although Minister Dijsselbloem agrees that wages should rise, he emphasizes that it isn't possible in all sectors. He explains that the possibility of increasing wages will be differentiated, and will have to be negotiated within each sector and each collective labor agreement.

Hans de Boer, president of the VNO-NCW employers' organization, approached it from the other side, saying that net expenses should be lightened by €10 to €15 billion to give the economy an impulse. To this, Minister Dijsselbloem replied that the Cabinet does want to lower burdens with between €3 and €5 billion, but that is currently no money to do that. De Boer, however, feels that cuts could be made to social security and care.

For Minister Dijsselbloem, De Boer's solution is too simple, and "not serious." Instead, net expense lowering will have to be compensated by making cuts in government expenses, which will only lead to higher taxes for companies and citizens. "Hand de Boer does not have a cash machine in the attic at VNO. He can't magic €15 billion into existence. He can cut it away, but then the expenses rise somewhere else."

The Cabinet does want to diminish tax burdens for citizens and companies in the coming years, to counter negative income effects for some population groups from tax reform, but only at figures between €3 and €5 billion. In total, tax reforms should lead to €15 billion in lowered burdens for labour, and 100,000 extra jobs.