Dutch govt. called to reduce middle class uncertainty

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Stock image of a female worker (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Peter van der Sluijs). (Stock image of a female worker (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Peter van der Sluijs))

The Dutch middle class face many uncertainties and it is important that the government focuses on reducing it, according to recommendations made by the scientific council for government police WRR on Wednesday.  There is no sign that the middle class is falling, but people in this group have to put in extra effort to maintain their social position, the WRR concludes, ANP reports.

The middle class consists of households whose income is between 60 percent and 200 percent of the average income. Middle class people often need two incomes and more often have to deal with flexible and temporary work. Uncertainty around this can be reduced by, among other things, creating incentives for employers to create more permanent work. "Work should only be flexible if it fits the nature of the work", the WRR said. 

In the long term, the WRR recommends a "fundamental discussion" about new social security for all forms of work, regardless of the type of contract. But for now, collective disability insurance and minimum rates for freelancers should reduce uncertainty for these groups. The government should also invest in training and keeping childcare affordable.

The council also noticed a vulnerable part of the middle class whose position on the social ladder is anything but certain. "This vulnerable segment consists primarily of MBOs [high school level vocational training] with a routine, administrative job or a care or service profession", the WRR said. This group faces a grater risk of job loss or low income. 

Middle class groups feel more vulnerable than people with low incomes, because the middle class is more often overlooked when it comes to benefits and tax cuts, the WRR concludes.

GroenLinks, SP and PvdA call the report concerning and want to discuss it with the government. "The middle class is the backbone of society", GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver said. He requested a debate on behalf of all three parties. "They were let down by politics. A next government must ensure that people get more security in their lives."

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