In January Dutch consumers paid 2.2 percent more for goods and services than the same month last year - the biggest price increase since September 2013, Statistics Netherlands reports. According to the stats office, the increase of the low VAT rate put upward pressure on the prices of food, books and public transport, among other things.
Most Dutch households will have a bit more to spend this year than in 2018, despite higher energy bills, higher health insurance premiums and higher VAT, according to budget institute Nibud's latest purchasing power calculations. Most households will have between a few euros and 131 euros extra left over each month, NU.nl reports.
The Dutch government is implementing a number of law changes on January 1st. Below find a summary of changes made in the category Consumers.
A VAT increase will hit all goods currently taxed at 6 percent. Items like museum entrance, theater tickets, attraction passes, groceries, water, books, and hair salon services will now have a 9 percent sales tax rate.
NS is critical about the increase of the low VAT rate, which also covers train tickets, from 6 to 9 percent. According to the rail company, this will make public transport more expensive compared to the car, and NS worries that more people will opt for the car instead, NOS reports.
The price for train tickets and subscriptions will increase on January 1st. According to NS, the increase is mainly due to the VAT increase.
The VAT increase next year will increase costs for Dutch households by an average of around 300 euros per year, according to ING economists. The low VAT rate will increase from 6 to 9 percent on January 1st, which is expected to increase inflation by 0.6 percent extra, ANP reports.
With the new year starting, the Dutch government is implementing a number of new laws and changing some existing ones. Below is an explanation of changes to the law applying to health and healthcare.
The maximum care allowance is increasing as of January 1st, 2018. For single people the maximum allowance increases by 73 euros to 1,139 euros, and for couples by 79 euros to 2,121 euros.
The three left-wing opposition parties are presenting an alternative plan for the Rutte III government agreement on Tuesday. GroenLinks, SP and PvdA's government agreement includes six plans under the title "People over multinationals", NU.nl reports.
The parties' plans mainly have to do with taxes and climate.
The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are now really very almost done with their government agreement, ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said to NOS on Friday afternoon. But he thinks the four parties will have to meet again on Monday.
There will be no meetings over the weekend. The ChristenUnie respects the Sunday rest. "And on Saturday I have other plans", Segers said to the broadcaster.
The Rutte III government is changing the immigration policy, specifically they're limiting immigrants' access to benefits. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are also increasing the low VAT rate from 6 percent to 9 percent, RTL Nieuws reports.