4 October 2019 • HOP, Bas Helleman
Hoekstra saddles the next government with cutbacks in higher education
Remember those 226 million euros in cutbacks in higher education? That’s still far into the future and a next government can scratch those if they wish, according to a statement yesterday by Minister of Finance Hoekstra.
Yesterday, CDA Minister of Finance Hoekstra answered a number of questions raised by the Lower House during the general financial debates about next year’s government budget. The cutbacks in higher education were also discussed.
Government is scratching the intended higher interest rate on student loans. This will mean an annual shortage of 226 million euro in the national budget in the distant future. Higher education will need to make up for this shortage in the government budget. The PvdA wants the government to explain how this will work.
Minister Hoekstra simply dismissed all criticism. He replied that in this current legislative period we will not notice any cutbacks. It’s not until 2025 that costs will begin to increase slowly. And by then there will a different government.
The cutback will be “technically attributed” to higher education, explains Hoekstra, but it will take a while before these costs are actually a factor. “The parties in the next government are free to do something about that, if they wish.” In other words, the next government can always make adjustments.
Hoekstra implied that the PvdA is playing a political game. “The question raised here seems to suggest that this government is making higher education foot the bill. That is simply not true.”
But the cutback is still included in the government budget. Together with the SP, the PvdA submitted a motion to find another solution. Minister Hoekstra advised against the motion, so it’s unlikely to pass the vote.