SP leader on new Dutch government: “New faces, same old story”

10 October 2017

SP leader on new Dutch government: “New faces, same old story”

“The new government is singing the same song, with the same discordant melody.” This was SP leader Emile Roemer’s initial reaction to the formation, after a wait of 208 days since March’s general election, of a new four-party centre-right coalition government. Referring to the fact that this is the third governing coalition in succession which will be headed by Mark Rutte and his right-wing VVD party, Roemer added that “Rutte I, II, of III, it’s always the same: division grows, security declines.”

Multinationals will be obliged to pay less in tax on their sky-high profits, while families must pay more when they shop for essentials. “When things were going badly in the economy, a lot of people had to dig deep,” says Roemer. “They saw their rents rocket, while their wages were held down and the pension age was raised. At the same time, multinationals paid less and less. Now there’s a recovery, these corporations, which make billions in profits, stand to profit most while people carry on having to pay higher prices. This kind of divide is a political choice, a political choice which this new government has unfortunately made with conviction.”

Roemer is, he says, asking himself why the promises made to multinationals turned out to have more worth than those made to workers on flexible contracts, or to young people, or people in ill health. “The VVD promised multinational corporations that they would have to pay less tax, and this has been fulfilled, but what about their other promises?” he says. “What about the promises made to workers who want permanent contracts? The promise made to people in ill health that can’t pay the share of the costs which now has to be found by the patient? The promises to young people who want to study? It’s quite remarkable how election promises to millionaires can be met so much more easily than can promises to young people, the sick, or workers on flexible contracts. The new government has certainly listened to the demands of the rich, but not to the concerns of the vast majority of the people.”

Roemer is pleased that investments in nursing home care will be maintained, and that the new government will get to work on the law initiated by SP Member of Parliament Renske Leijten to restrict dividends paid out by health insurers. “Of course there are some good measures in the coalition agreement,” he admits. “But this government will be carrying on with a wrong-headed, neoliberal course, a course of huge divisions, less security and more individualism.'

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