Deputy PM taking heat on high unemployment
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher is facing criticism from the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament. The VVD, who is leading the attack, accused him of selling tall tales, with too little results, especially on unemployment. "It is just not enough", VVD MP Anne Mulder said to the Telegraaf, adding that they will be keeping a closer eye on Asscher. He thinks the problem is that Asscher does not dare to argue in the polder, and in the meantime unemployment remains high, despite the recovering economy. "Peace in the polder is apparently more important to him than jobs." "The perception is that something is happening, but when you zoom you will see that nothing is going on. Employers have work, but they dare not take people on", Mulder continued. "Then you might think: 'do something'." That something might include declaring collective bargaining agreements not generally binding, according to him. On Monday Statistics Netherlands reported that there is some positive news on the number of people receiving welfare benefits - the number remained stable over the past six months, showing no increase for the first time in years. Though compared to February last year, a massive 138 thousand new welfare benefits are being paid. Earlier today Asscher and Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education announced that they intend to find the 66 thousand "invisible youth" - young people who are not studying or working - and make arrangements with 35 municipalities about getting these kids into education or work. "We must ensure that these young people remain involved in our society. And prevent them from coming to stand with their backs to society. This is an important task for municipalities and the environment of these young people", Asscher said.