Four biggest cities want more welfare help from Cabinet
The four largest cities in the Netherlands have officially asked the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, to reconsider their budget plans for welfare benefits. Cities are expected to cover any shortfall in benefits payments due to cuts imposed by the national government, which equates to a 25 million euro cutback in benefit payments to Amsterdam residents alone. Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Utrecht all agree that the new plan, which takes effect next year, "does not work well," according to newswire ANP. They are also concerned about a lack of transparency, and a lack of guarantees from the ruling coalition government that they will have enough funding to cover their legally-required responsibility to low-income residents. An analysis earlier this week by the Volkskrant found that the new calculation method will hit the larger cities in the Netherlands hard. Groningen faces a 16 million euro cut, while Utrecht will likely lose out on five million. Social Affairs Secretary Jetta Klijnsma, from the left wing PvdA (Labour), plans to stick to the new plan, the ANP reported saying it seemed she held little regard for criticism. She wants to reassess the calculation method next spring, if necessary.