Asylum costing Rutte IV Cabinet billions more than budgeted: report
The costs for asylum this year are over 3 billion euros higher than the Rutte IV Cabinet previously budgeted, sources close to the Cabinet told NRC. According to the newspaper's sources, the higher costs are due to more asylum seekers and a lack of reception space.
An important reason behind the high costs is the many emergency shelters needed because the Central Agency for Asylum Seekers (COA) does not have enough room in its regular asylum shelters. The hurriedly-created temporary locations often offer poor living conditions for asylum seekers at extremely high costs, according to the newspaper. A bed in a regular shelter costs about 19 euros per day, while a night in an emergency shelter - which ranges from a stretcher in a gym to shared space on a cruise ship - can cost the government up to ten times as much.
The COA is currently sheltering 52,000 asylum seekers, 40 percent staying in emergency shelters. The number of asylum seekers is forecast to climb to 75,000 by the end of this year.
In the coming weeks, the Ministries and coalition parties will work on the spring adjustments to the national budget. Minister Sigrid Kaag of Finance will likely present the spring memorandum at the end of April. Asylum is not the only extra cost item on the Cabinet’s list. It also has to figure out how to pay for the energy price cap and extra compensation for residents of the Groningen earthquake zone.
The government has made almost a habit of under-budgeting for asylum. Since 2000, asylum costs have been higher than budgeted in 21 of the 23 years, according to a recent report by the Netherlands Court of Audit. Usually, this involved hundreds of millions of euros.