Coalition agrees on extra money for teachers, energy bills, rents
The VVD, D66, CDA, and ChristenUnie - the four coalition parties that drew up the national budget for next year - agreed on an additional investment of about 2 billion euros in lowering rents and energy bills, and increasing safety and teachers' salaries. This was the outcome of the two-day long Budget Debate, which ended on Thursday evening, NU.nl reports.
As the Rutte III cabinet is ruling in a caretaker capacity, the budget only included major investments into crises that can't wait - the climate, the housing market, and fighting organized crime. The VVD, D66, and CDA - the parties currently talking about forming a new minority cabinet - asked the opposition parties to submit plans and adjust the 2022 budget. They set 1 billion euros aside for this, but that amount was eventually doubled. The PvdA and GroenLinks wanted more, but eventually supported the coalition's plans.
500 million euros will go towards lowering the landlord's levy. Various parties, including GroenLinks, SP, and PvdA, wanted to scrap this extra tax for housing associations completely, but that would be too expensive, costing some 2 billion euros. So they settled for lowering it. This should ensure that more money goes towards the construction of new homes and lower rents.
Another 500 million euros will go to increasing primary school teachers' salaries and closing the wage gap between them and their colleagues in secondary education.
375 million euros was earmarked to compensate for households' rising energy bills to some extent. The climate levy on the energy bill will be lowered and the existing tax discount will increase. Small and medium-sized businesses will also get a discount on their energy bill.
300 million euros will go to Defense to eliminate backlogs in maintenance. And another 200 million euros will go towards strengthening security and enforcement.
Money for these extra investments will come from various sources. 1 billion euros is coming from scrapping a controversial tax credit for companies. 700 million euros will come from tightened rules on tax avoidance. And the budget deficit will increase slightly. This will be partly compensated by wage tax being higher due to teachers' salaries increasing.