SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Households will have an average of €40 less to spend a month this year, national budget institute Nibud has calculated. ‘This will affect everyone,’ Nibud director Arjan Vliegenthartd told broadcaster NOS.
‘It will be noticeable not so much on people’s payslips but at the supermarket, the petrol pump and on their energy bill.’ Household bills could increase by between €10 and over €100 a month, the agency’s calculations show, depending on their make-up, living situation and work.
The prediction is worse now than in September because the sudden hike in energy prices had not been factored in until now. The government compensation for the spiralling energy bills will help households but will not match the expected rate of inflation, Nibud said.
The consequences for low-income households are ‘worrying’, Nibud said and will hit people on welfare, the elderly with just a state pension and people who pay high rents hardest.
Local councils can give low-income households an extra €200 in compensation and Vliegenthart urged them to make claiming simple, without ‘a jungle of complicated benefit rules’.
‘Local councils must hurry up and get the money to people struggling with energy bills and as a society we must decide how to help people who are suffering financially,’ Vliegenthart said.