VVD comes out against minimum wage increase in 2024 budget debate
Dutch political party VVD said it is not enthusiastic about further increasing the mandatory minimum wage in 2024. Sophie Hermans, who leads the party in the Tweede Kamer, said she is against such an idea, but would rather divert more money for middle-income households instead.
“If we were to do something extra, we would choose this group,” she said during the political debate in the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday. The debate follows the release of the Cabinet’s budget proposal for the upcoming year, and is one of the most important political debates each year. The caretaker Cabinet is currently led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, of the VVD.
Leftwing faction GroenLinks-PvdA and centrist Christian party ChristenUnie did argue for a further increase of the minimum wage in 2024. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver asked Hermans during the debate whether she would cooperate with such a proposal. He told her that middle-income groups also benefit from a higher minimum wage, because it raises the entire wage structure slightly.
Hermans countered that the outgoing Cabinet has already released 2 billion euros in the budget plans to provide support for the poorest households. Moreover, the minimum wage has already been significantly increased this year. That is why she called it, “not my first choice,” to take another step in advancing the minimum wage right now.
It goes against her party’s election manifesto. In the run-up to parliamentary elections in November, the VVD said it was in favor of increasing the minimum wage.
At the same time, Hermans stated that she was prepared to seriously consider proposals from other parties. Klaver also said that he would like to think along with the wishes of the VVD, which has already indicated that it wants to get rid of the fuel excise tax increase set to happen on January 1.
Hermans stressed that all parties will make proposals to improve the purchasing power of groups of Dutch people, and warned that these plans must also be paid for in some manner. “Thoughts diverge a little faster there, I think.”
Reporting by ANP