Joint Strike Fighter: Taxpayers forced to stump up twice

18 April 2008

Joint Strike Fighter: Taxpayers forced to stump up twice

SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen says she is "astonished" by the refusal by a number of corporations to return part of the proceeds from the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to the state. This not only breaks agreements made in the past, but it is essential that the industry as a single bloc takes responsibility for repayment of the state's mega-investment. "The firms are evidently happy to trade under the motto 'profits for us, losses for you'," says Van Velzen, defence spokeswoman for the SP. "The burden has now for the most part to be borne by the taxpayers, who still haven't seen any sign of this ridiculously expensive fighter plane."

Krista van VelzenFirms can make strong profits by supplying materials during the development of the JSF. The return of 3.5% of their JSF-related turnover is the payback for the € 800 million invested in the project by the Dutch taxpayer. "The accord between government and industry was an important pillar propping up the Netherlands' participation in the JSF project," Van Velzen points out. "Now this has been in part jettisoned, the taxpayer has been caught twice: first over the development of a plane that the Netherlands doesn't need, and later for its purchase. That's unacceptable."

Van Velzen is calling on Secretary of State for Defence Jack de Vries and Economics Minister Maria van der Hoeven to appear before Parliament on Tuesday to clarify these matters. "I want a solid guarantee that we are not going to be registering a loss as a result of the Netherlands' participation in the development and production of the JSF," insists Van Velzen."We must, cost by cost, ensure that this does not become another financial fiasco, like the rail project, the new Betuwe line. I am also going to ask the state Bureau for Social and Cultural Planning to calculate what the JSF will do for employment and the broader economy. As things stand, it doesn't seem to me that it is going to meet expectations."

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