The majority of Dutch citizens expect the economy will further deteriorate in the coming year. Sixty percent expect that unemployment will rise and prices go up.
Consumer spending is expected to decrease further and the housing market to remain in a slump. These are the conclusions of a survey conducted by the Social and Cultural Planning Office published on Thursday.
Economic prospects have been less than rosy since the third quarter of last year. Just 26 percent of those interviewed were pessimistic about the economy in the second quarter of 2011. The substantial increase in pessimism since then is the result of negative reports in the media and planned budget cuts. Consumers generally feel the government has failed to take decisive action against the economic downturn.
Loss of trust
Consumers lost even more of their trust in politics when the cabinet fell on 21 April. Up until that date 54 percent said they had faith in parliament and 47 percent trusted the government. After 21 April these figures dropped to 47 and 43 percent respectively.
Just like after the fall of the previous cabinet, the call for strong leaders increased from 31 to 36 percent. The SCP survey was conducted between 3 April and 2 May. The researchers were able to include the cabinet crisis in their survey, but not the spring budget cuts agreement between coalition partners VVD and CDA and opposition parties D66, the Green Left party and the Christian Union.
More than three quarters of those interviewed want to see changes to the economic system, such as adjustments to the current welfare state, more government oversight of the financial sector and measures regarding the housing market, the labour market, public health care and pensions. An impressive 71 percent are in favour of curbing bonuses for top managers; this figure was even higher among the elderly and people with little formal education.
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