Impoverished households to get extra €500 for energy bills after all
According to Prime Minister Mark Rutte, municipalities can soon start working on an extra energy allowance for impoverished families. He actually only wanted to decide on this allowance after the summer, but parliament was not satisfied with that. Rutte mentioned an amount of 500 euros per family.
Over the past weeks, the government studied dozens of opposition proposals to further ease the pain of the high inflation for households this year. The opposition wanted these proposals added to the Spring Memomarndum - the spring update to the annual national budget. But all the proposals proved too heavy a burden on the national government’s already overburdened executive bodies.
The municipalities threw the Cabinet a lifeline on Tuesday, saying that if there is really no other option, they can put in the extra effort. They are already responsible for paying the previously promised energy allowance of 800 euros for impoverished households. If the government makes more money available, the municipalities will ensure that this amount is increased.
Rutte initially called it questionable whether this increase could be arranged before the end of the year, even after the opposition urged him to hurry. He continued to insist that it would be better to wait until August when plans for next year will also be discussed.
However, when coalition parties CDA and D66 also insisted on haste, the Prime Minister proved willing to immediately accept the municipalities’ offer. He did, however, mention that it may not be possible to pay the extra allowance for the entire target group before December 31.
The opposition is also dissatisfied with the fact that municipalities can only arrange the extra allowance for families living on up to 120 percent of the minimum wage. While millions of workers who earn just above that level also struggle to get by.
The PvdA and GroenLinks wanted the extra allowance linked to the healthcare allowance. That would reach a much larger group.
Reporting by ANP