CDA leader Hoekstra believes that selective outrage has responded to his plan to reduce the unemployment benefit WW from two to one year. Yesterday, in a conversation with the AD, he suggested that “the time has come to reduce the duration of WW unemployment benefit from two to one years‘.
Hoekstra’s proposal immediately followed severe criticism from almost all parties from left to right. They call the plan antisocial, indecent and poorly timed given the coronacrisis.
In response, Hoekstra today says that the shortening of the WW is only one element of its overall plan. His party wants to increase the benefit to 90% of the old wage in the first two months and to 80% in the following months. In the last six months, the CDA wants to keep the benefit level unchanged by 70%. The CPB‘s pass-on shows that the plan would result in a cut of EUR 600 million.
Moreover, the upper limit for determining the level of the WW is a gross monthly salary of EUR 4859. Those who earn more will get a lower percentage of the old salary.
PVDA leader Ploumen found the plan “totally indecent” and SP leader Marijnissen called it “super-antisocial”. According to her, “consultant Hoekstra overtakes the VVD on the right”. PVV leader Wilders called Hoekstra “an incredible aso”. Green Left leader Clover said that “ordinary people on the right” so pay the “bill of the coronacrisis”.
The parties with whom Hoekstra works as the foreign minister of finance also reacted critically. Kaag (D66) said this morning that she considers this WW plan “not the right approach at this stage”. Segers of the Christian Union was critical of the timing of the “bad” proposal. VVD-Minister Van Ark also points out that there is a crisis going on. “Add even more uncertainty now, I think that doesn’t work well in many living rooms.”
The trade unions are also outraged by the proposal, writes De Cceit. ‘This is political harakiri, ‘says President Castelein of the Union Trade Union. Vice-President Jong of the trade union FNV believes that Hoekstra falls through the basket. “Earlier Hoekstra said that he did not want to become a leader because he thinks he is more a driver than a politician. In doing so, he disqualifies himself for both functions.”
CNV Chairman Fortuin is stunned. “With this he throws a hand grenade into the polder. How can you come up with a constructive solution for the labour market with the same polder?”
According to Hoekstra, the shortening of the WW is only one element in the CDA proposal, together with, among other things, training and tackling flexjobs. “And you have to tell the whole story, which is that after corona we have to work towards a fairer labour market,” he said.
He does say, however, that the reforms must be timed properly. “Of course, you have to look: at what point do you have to enter it wisely? It‘s not something for the middle of a crisis. But let’s try to tackle that, which The Hague has been around for a long time.”
The party said earlier that the plan is in line with the opinions of the Breast Lab Commission, which issued an opinion last year on a future-proof labour market. “They get one thing out of it, but the report is very nuanced,” Hoekstra quoted this morning.
“ And countries like Denmark and Sweden have done exactly what Borstlap says: a higher, but also shorter WW and a lot of investment in training,” stressed the CDA leader.
Commission President Hans Borstlap himself said this morning at Speekmakers on NPO Radio 1 that the plan must be embedded in a larger plan to deal more actively with the unemployed. What exactly the increase and shortening of the WW should look like, he did not say.
Investing in UWV and social services
“ Literally in our report we say: make the WW benefit high and short. So higher than now, it‘s been two months 75 and then 70 percent. You can go to 90, we don’t make any statements about that, maybe 100 percent. Why would you reward someone who becomes unemployed out of his fault temporarily lower?”
But only shortening and increasing it is not enough, he repeated. “The order of things is very important. At least at the same time you have to invest a lot in the manpower and instruction of the UWV and the municipal social services”, replied Borstlap.