The city council of Zoetermeer calls on Tuesday for a national protest against the current budget that municipalities have. All thirteen parties believe that in recent years the central government has structurally made too little money available for all municipal tasks that have been added. An action committee has been set up to encourage councils in other cities to take a similar position.
It is unique that a city council unanimously adopts such a motion and calls nationwide for action against the national government.
The parties in the Zoetermeer council argue that they are in serious trouble mainly due to the considerable healthcare costs that the municipality is saddled with. In particular, the personal contributions for the Social Support Act (Wmo) are far too low, according to the council.
The municipality of Zoetermeer is short of 17.5 million euros annually to realize all care tasks, according to a spokesman for the council in the NOS Radio 1 Journal. These shortages have an effect on all kinds of smaller items that are of great importance to residents of the city, such as swimming lessons and discount passes for minima.
VNG recently also sounded the alarm on this subject
If the cabinet does not listen, the parties in the council want to take radical measures, such as not setting a budget.
It is not the first time that a municipality has sounded the alarm about the lack of financial support from The Hague. Chairman Jan van Zanen of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) recently called the situation "completely unsustainable".
'Apparently emergency is very high'
Professor of administrative law Herman Bröring of the University of Groningen (RUG) confirms that it is rare for a city council to send a national signal in this way. "Municipalities sometimes work together when it comes to a regional file, such as wind farms. Or problems are raised nationally via the Association of Dutch Municipalities. But I have not seen it this way often; the need is apparently very high."
Bröring thinks that The Hague would do well to take this signal seriously. "Legally, the cabinet does not have to do anything with it," he emphasizes. "But politically this is a cry for help that you can hardly ignore. The council is the highest organ of the municipality, with representatives representing people who live in society. The pain of these cuts is felt throughout the society and the measure is apparently full. "