“Election stunt”: Rotterdam party’s plan to give low-income workers €50 bonus criticized

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Political party Leefbaar Rotterdam plans to give some 40 thousand employed Rotterdam residents with a low income a 'work bonus' of 50 euros. A number of other parties in the city are critical of the plan, calling it an election stunt and stigmatizing to people living on welfare, NOS reports.

The 'work bonus' is intended for employed people who earn between 100 percent and 130 percent of the minimum wage. According to Leefbaar Rotterdam leader Ronald Buijt, the difference between low incomes and welfare benefits is too small. "Rotterdam wants to send a signal that working pays. Someone on welfare costs the government up to 1,400 euros a month. And someone who works, pays taxes."

This plan wil cost the municipality 2.3 million euros, according to the broadcaster. The Rotterdam factions of the CDA and D66 supports the initiative.

Other parties are less enthusiastic. Leo Bruijn, leader of the PvdA faction in Rotterdam, is pleased that Leefbaar wants to do something for people who have little disposable income. But according to him, the work bonus is stigmatizing for people on welfare. "People who want to work but can't find a job, are not included in this. That's unfair."

The local VVD accused Leefbaar of buying votes. "It is throwing away money on a gift. Money you can spend on a group that is really disadvantaged or on maintaining roads in the city", Antoinette Laan of the VVD said to NOS.

Buijt understands that people could see this as an election stunt, but it really isn't one, he said. "I understand that people think that, but this college already cut on the many benefits for people on welfare. This is the next step", he said, according to the broadcaster.