Coronavirus crisis increasing inequality in Netherlands society, professor says
About a fifth of Dutch people lost a big part of their income since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. Another group is saving more money now that restaurants are closed and holidays are being canceled. The crisis is widening the gap between these two groups, Oscar Gelderblom, professor of financial history in Utrecht, said to the Telegraaf. Vulnerable families are being hit hardest.
According to Gelderblom, there are worrying parallels between this crisis and the great depression in the 1930s. "There is a big difference in vulnerability between people with a big and small purse. The people who were able to build up a buffer will survive the crisis. If you don't have that, you can do nothing but spend less. Then there is only money for the basic necessities in life," he said to the newspaper.
Arjan Vliegenthart of budget institute Nibud confirmed this image. "We see that groups with a flexible contract are often no longer scheduled to work. They often drop back to welfare level, which is very worrying," he said to the Telegraaf. "But if you have a permanent position with a fixed income, there is not much different at the moment. There may be a little more energy going from the home and the groceries may be a bit more expensive, but that is it. They can now save a lot."
That already vulnerable households are being hit hard can be seen by the fact that a large proportion of the around 7 thousand kids who lost contact with their schools since the start of the crisis, have a migration background or come from families with multiple problems, Hans Bellaart of integration knowledge platform KIS said to the newspaper. "Problems occur in all different population groups," he said. "But social problems are relatively common among migrant families."
"The corona crisis affects all families, but for children with a migration background in combination with complex problems, these are extra difficult times," Bellaart said. "Cultural differences can play a role, but poverty and parenting problems can also cause tensions in families with multiple problems. In this respect, the corona crisis is putting a magnifying glass on these families."