Yesterday, the House of Representatives was supposed to vote on several motions and amendments relating to the energy allowance of 800 euros for vulnerable households. Opposition parties want a higher allowance to be introduced this year and also feel that students ought to get compensation for the rising prices of gas and electricity.

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‘Totally impracticable’

But the vote did not go ahead because the government announced that it wants to raise the energy allowance, possibly in 2022. However, ‘various preconditions’would then have to be met. One of them is set out in a letter from the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) to the House of Representatives. Although the VNG had agreed that students would be excluded from the energy allowance, ‘this might be put under pressure by possible legal rulings’.

According to the VNG, a possible solution for students is ‘beyond the scope of the municipalities and is up to the government’. Adding students to the target group is ‘totally impracticable’. “If tens of thousands of students apply for the scheme and start objection procedures, the operation at the municipalities will get fully gridlocked and that will have a negative impact on families that urgently need this support.”

‘Don’t take out ruinous loans first’

The House of Representatives is pleased that something might yet be done for students. If no national solution is found, MP Steven van Weyenberg (D66) wants the government to take a good look at potential special benefits. Students who really get into difficulties must be able to apply for it without ‘first having to take out ruinous loans from the Education Executive Agency’.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte replied that Minister of Poverty Policy, Participation, and Pensions Carola Schouten is ‘of course’ in discussion with the municipalities, taking account of the students and potential problem areas.

Stijgende energiekosten gasprijzen 1 – Migle Alonderyte

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