Dutch people are extremely resistant to any cutbacks in their healthcare system, according to research commissioned by national newspaper de Volkskrant. They are also against any reduction in the police budget.
A representative group of participants was asked to try their hand at slashing public spending. There were three budget reduction scenarios and the participants had to say in which sectors they would implement cutbacks if they first had 35 billion euros less to spend, then 18 billion and lastly, 5 billion.
More blue on street
Health and law and order were sacred areas and were not to be touched. In fact, at the third level – cutbacks with a five billion euro reduction – participants actually opted to invest more money from other areas into these two sectors. They were even prepared to finance an extra 4,000 police officers on the street.
Budget Day 2011
More RNW stories about budget day in the Netherlands
Development aid slashed
The research shows the Dutch would rather give less money to development aid and are not bothered by defence budget cuts or reforms to reduce mortgage tax relief.
Development aid was the most popular cutback victim and the only area to be cut back in all three scenarios. Even when the budget only had to be reduced by five billion euros, the Dutch axed aid by 50 percent.
In contrast, participants cut child benefits drastically in the first tier of the research, partially in the second and didn’t touch it at all in the third scenario.
The participants were not afraid to raise corporate taxes, even if meant the Netherlands would become less competitive in the international market.
The research was carried out by marketing research bureau TNS Nipo and based on an idea by British marketeer John Green, founder of Simalto, who carried out similar research in Great Britain and Australia.
Today is Budget Day, or 'Prinsjesdag' in the Netherlands - which is always on the third Tuesday of September. In line with tradition, Queen Beatrix will address a joint session of the lower and upper houses of parliament in the afternoon.
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