Effects of govt. budget cuts unclear: report

Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl)Jeroen Dijsselbloem (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl)

The exact impact, income and consequences of the budget cuts the Dutch government implemented between 2011 and 2016 are unclear, the General Court of Audit reported on Monday, according to ANP.

The last three cabinets implemented a total of 486 of the 512 announced measures over the past five years. According to the report, it is likely that these measures contributed to an improvement in public finances.

Public debt declined steadily over the past years. The Central Planning Bureau recently reported that the budget deficit will amount to 1.4 percent of GDP this year, compared to 4.3 percent in 2011.

But according to the Court of Audit - an independent body that checks government spending - exactly what price citizens and businesses paid for this improvement is unclear. The government never tracked what the effect of all those measures were.

"Without this information, the parliament can't weigh at a next financial crisis whether an approach such as the one in recent years is desirable again", the Court warns.

The Court concludes that the measures used a mix of budget cuts, tax increases and limited investments and tax cuts to bring in a structural 47.4 billion euros. A total of 50.4 billion euros in measures were announced.

Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem of Finance responded by saying he agrees that the effects of the measures must be clearly noted. And he believes it is a good idea to gather more data. But he sees no need for further evaluations.