Gov't wants to limit STAP subsidies to government approved courses; Next round on July 3
The Cabinet wants to limit the use of the STAP subsidy to only government-approved courses. The involved Ministers are currently working out how to achieve that, they informed parliament on Tuesday. The new rules won’t apply to the upcoming subsidy round, applications for which open on July 3, but for the one after that in September.
The STAP budget is an allowance of 1,000 euros intended to help people increase their chances in the labor market through retraining or additional training. Anyone aged 18 or older can apply, provided they’re not receiving a State pension.
The government launched the scheme last year, and it proved extremely popular. But it soon also became apparent that some were abusing it. People applied for the subsidy for courses unrelated to their work, and providers increased their course prices to collect more STAP money.
At the start of this year, the government implemented stricter rules for the subsidy. But the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, demanded even stricter requirements in a debate last week. The Cabinet is now working on that, Ministers Karien van Gennip of Social Affairs and Employment and Dennis Wiersma for Primary and Secondary Education announced.
In the spring update to the national budget, the government announced cuts to the STAP budget. The coming round of subsidies, starting July 3, will only have 20 million euros available instead of the initially planned 34 million euros, the Ministers said on Tuesday. In this way, a larger part of the budget can be released in September to be used under the stricter rules requested by parliament, they said.
September will be the last round of STAP subsidies. “Cuts must be made to keep our public finances healthy. That requires difficult choices. The abolition of the STAP subsidy is one of them,” Van Gennip said.