Parliament asks about plans to tackle minimum wage, poverty

The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament is eager to get more information on how exactly the Dutch Government will raise the legal minimum wage and the social welfare, and how it intends to eradicate poverty in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

The Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations on Wednesday submitted a list of 42 questions in response to the official reaction of the Dutch Government to the report of the Caribbean Netherlands Evaluation Committee which analysed the public entity status of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba that went into effect on October 10, 2010.

The members of the Kingdom Relations Committee wanted to know how exactly the Dutch Government would be raising the legal minimum wage and the social welfare “onderstand,” and to what level they would increase.

“How large will the amount be for the “onderstand” for it to grow towards the social minimum? When is the economic carrying capacity sufficiently improved so that the legal minimum wage can be increased?”

The Committee asked about the extent that the increase of the “onderstand” would contribute to the decrease of poverty and the offering of a decent livelihood when the minimum wage was insufficient to survive on. The Dutch Government was asked how it would ensure that the minimum wage would be sufficient to survive on.

Worried about the level of poverty on the islands, the Committee wanted to know which concrete measures would be introduced to decrease impoverishment, when these measures would be introduced and what the objectives were. “When can the people truly sense that that their poverty decreases?”

The Committee asked whether the Dutch Government was willing to create financial space to reduce poverty on the islands, and in what way the development of the poverty issue would be monitored in the next years.

The adopted motion of Member of Parliament (MP) Roelof van Laar of the Labour Party PvdA regarding the building of liveable, decent homes was inquired about. The Committee wanted to know when this motion would be executed in its entirety. “When is the inventory of the state of homes ready and when will it be sent to Parliament?”

The Committee sought clarity on the promise of the Dutch Government to take additional employment activating measures. “Which additional employment activating measures will be taken to increase the chances of people in the Caribbean Netherlands on the labour market? How many jobs will be added? What fiscal incentives will be created to stimulate investments and employment?”

The purchasing power of especially the lower income families was another subject of concern for the Committee members. They asked whether the tax regime would be revised now that it has become clear that improved tax compliance has resulted in higher consumer prices. “How much did the prices increase in terms of percentages after the transition. Which efforts did the Dutch Government make to prevent this?”

Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk will provide an answer in writing to the series of questions prior to the debate that he will have with the Kingdom Relations Committee on June 6 regarding the Caribbean Netherlands evaluation. The First Chamber, which will have a similar debate on June 21, will also be drafting a document with remarks and questions.

The Daily Herald.

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One comment

  1. If they had listened to all the letter the SBA send them and to all the discussions we had over the last five years, all this wouldn’t be necessary. But as always, they didn’t listen and they ignored our suggestions. Now eventually some of them wake up. Nice. Lets move and do something about poverty and high cost of living. There are many incentives and suggestions we have made. Most of them are mentioned in the evaluation report. Its time that Minister Plasterk takes some serious steps towards improving the economy and the fiscal and social system. For many of us its 5 past 12.

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