In the coming years, establishing good municipal minimum policy will become more important than ever.
Since decentralization in 2015, municipalities have taken on a more important role in income support for low-income people. During the Corona crisis, and more recently the energy crisis, this responsibility only expanded. However, this raises questions about the possibilities and impossibility of municipal income support. To be sure, now that it is becoming increasingly clear that national politics often does not provide a minimal basis for being able to manage its own finances.
For months, reports of rising inflation and ever-increasing energy prices followed each other. As a result, low-income families suffer shortages every month, but incomes above the minimum are also likely to encounter problems.
Municipalities from various quarters are urged to take swift action to compensate families who are now experiencing difficulties. At the same time, the question arises about the sustainability of this method of work. How long will we continue to compensate for setbacks with temporary measures? Certainly if we conclude that the municipalities are not able to reach everyone who needs it.
With fewer regulations and more trust, municipalities can better support citizens.
At the beginning of 2020, even before the outbreak of the Corona crisis, Nybod had already indicated that many families could not get a minimum income. They shorten each month by tens of euros. In 2022, we will see the family budget deficit widen and affect more families.
This is why more than just municipal policy is needed. It is not without reason that VNG advocates, under the slogan ‘Security of existence is a fundamental right not a political choice’, that the government should put more effort into ‘ensuring adequate and predictable income, job security and participation in society’. With a roof over your head, affordable care and in a safe environment. So it is good that the Cabinet has announced that it will increase the minimum wage and social assistance benefits by 7.5 per cent.
But an increase in social assistance is only a partial solution. Municipalities should make better use of the space in a minimum income policy, and in doing so you may need to explore the limits of what is legally allowed more often. The minimum policy of many municipalities is now fragmented into many jars. Pots for which different conditions apply as well. This makes it virtually impossible to distribute budgets quickly when the need is really high. With fewer regulations and more trust in citizens, municipalities can better support citizens.
Councilors, mayors, and new councilors often face the important task of reassessing their policy. The consequences of the Corona crisis, high inflation and the appeal of the government and society to municipalities for help mean that there is work to be done. Because it is clear that municipalities that are creative, courageous and involved can make a difference in people’s lives. Every reason to roll up your sleeves.
Arjan Fligenthart, director Nybod
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