Free childcare will be postponed for two years, cabinet cuts for the first time in years The postponement is a financial windfall for the cabinet, which has to cut billions.

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The government plan to make childcare almost free will be postponed for two years and will not take effect until 2027. The sector will not be able to find enough staff if the demand for childcare will rise even further. The fear is that this will probably also lead to far too high a price for childcare for the cabinet.

Careful implementation of the new system is crucial for parents, the sector and the implementers, says Minister Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs). According to her, that is also a lesson from the benefits affair.

It was agreed in the coalition agreement that the changes in childcare would take effect in 2025. The postponement is a setback for parents, but means a financial windfall for the cabinet, which is looking for opportunities to cut costs for the first time in a long time. The plan was that the government would pay almost all the costs for the shelter.

Income-related allowance will increase

The income-related allowance that parents receive for childcare will increase in 2025 and 2026, although the details of that measure have yet to be worked out. The intention is that the demand for childcare will gradually increase so that the sector can keep up. From 2027, the allowance will no longer go to the parents, but directly to the childcare organization.

On Friday, the cabinet will publish the Spring Memorandum, containing the adjustments to the current budget. At the start of the Council of Ministers this morning, Minister Sigrid Kaag (Finance) spoke of a “change of course”, although she did not yet use the word cutbacks. Various windfalls ease the pain, but to balance the budget, expenditure will have to be cut.

STAP subsidy disappears

Insiders report that the STAP budget, the scheme with which employees and job seekers can receive a subsidy of 1000 euros per year for training and development, is disappearing again. This scheme was only introduced last year. Scrapping it will yield about 200 million euros, but that is not nearly enough now that the cabinet is looking for many billions.

Rising interest rates mean that the government spends more money on loans. According to insiders, this is about 9 billion euros. Expenditure on asylum will probably increase from 3 to 5 billion euros per year. The influx remains high and due to the lack of reception places, asylum seekers have to be accommodated in more expensive emergency shelters.

And yesterday the cabinet announced that for the next 30 years, approximately 13.5 billion euros extra will go to Groningen for claims handling, strengthening houses and investments in quality of life and economy.

‘Cheese slicer method’

This means that for the first time in years there is talk about cutbacks in The Hague. In recent years, the pockets of the finance minister have seemed unprecedentedly deep when dealing with the consequences of the corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Expenditure must now be reduced, and to achieve this the cabinet has opted for the ‘cheese slicer method’, which means that almost all ministries have to give up something. An agreement has now been reached, but the details will not be released until Friday. According to Kaag, the officials at her ministry still have to “dot the last i’s and cross the t’s” before the Spring Memorandum can be sent to the House.

The European budget rules also compel the government to make savings. The budget deficit is now above 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and that is not allowed. Kaag said this morning that there is “a good proposal” on the table.

During the discussions in the cabinet, increasing the deductible in health insurance was also on the table as a possible cutback, but that is not going to happen. The minimum deductible remains at 385 euros.

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  • Interior

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