THE HAGUE - The Cabinet is calculating several scenarios to see how best to do something for people and companies running into financial problems due to the high energy price. Caretaker Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Stef Blok spoke of a "complex issue" because it is difficult to determine precisely who needs support. He still needs time to find a solution.
According to Blok, there is "no direct correlation" between the level of people's income and the insulation of their homes. While acknowledging that low-income people are most likely to face problems in poorly insulated homes, he points out that middle-income and small and medium-sized businesses can also face problems when energy costs are high.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance does not want to anticipate any measures as long as they are still under consideration. He did say that intervention should be "smart" and target "those people for whom the problem will soon be the biggest." "It is annoying for everyone to have to pay a few dozen euros extra per month on the energy bill, but there are also a lot of Dutch people for whom that is not a problem. At the same time, there are Dutch people for whom it is a problem almost immediately."
There are "several knobs" that can be turned, according to Blok. He is thinking, among other things, of the possibilities of doing something about the energy tax and measures to ensure people have more income to spend. Speeding up the insulation of homes is also on the table, although a shortage of skilled workers is a problem. Hoekstra added that it is difficult to predict how energy prices will develop.
Parliament gave the Cabinet until 1 November to develop a proposal, but the Cabinet hopes to have a plan ready sooner.