All political parties have now announced their (provisional) election programs for the 2017 House of Representatives election. Social Work Netherlands has listed everything for you, insofar as relevant to the social domain and social work in particular. What do political parties want with social work, with volunteers (work), neighborhood facilities, child facilities, debt problems, and refugees?
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Parties about Neighborhood Facilities
If it were up to the PvdA, there will be 100,000 new jobs such as janitors and assistants at schools, supervisors in the bus and tram, to support sports and cultural associations, and to keep the public space clean. The PvdA wants more money to go to mixed and community schools, to sports, culture, and associations, and to community facilities such as libraries. The VVD encourages the development of neighborhood prevention, such as neighborhood apps and citizen forums. The CDA also wants citizens and associations to have the right to take over the implementation of a collective provision from the government. This can be anything: the maintenance of a park in the neighborhood, the management of sports fields by the club, or the care for the elderly. With a so-called right to challenge, citizens are given the right to submit an alternative proposal to their municipality.
Political plans with regard to Debt and Poverty
The PvdA wants more money for poverty reduction, while D66 sees the solution in stimulating less debt. CU also invests in prevention. In order to make access to sports and culture possible for every child, the CDA wants to set up a youth sports or youth culture fund in every municipality. CDA is committed to better debt counseling so that people who fall into debt get out faster and stay out of debt. In addition, they stimulate basic budget management, which ensures that all fixed costs – such as rent, health insurance, and gas, water, and light – are already deducted from someone’s benefits in advance. This prevents the problems piling up with the bills and the threat of eviction. Finally, according to the CDA, it is important for these children to be able to fully participate in sports, take music lessons or go to the library and go on school trips. This is possible by offering these facilities as income support in kind. In order to make access to sports and culture possible for every child, the CDA wants a youth sports or youth culture fund to be set up in every municipality. They can support parents for whom membership is too expensive.
Parties about Volunteers (work)
CDA, GroenLinks, SP, and CU have the most outspoken ideas about volunteers (work). The CDA wants conscription for all young people. Precisely because the importance of a strong society can no longer be taken for granted, they want an extra effort to actively involve young people in society. That is why they want to move towards a new military service. This is possible at the Ministry of Defense, but also in healthcare, the police, or other social organizations. CDA also advocates supporting volunteers by scrapping unnecessary rules and relaxing rules for the reimbursement of expenses for voluntary work. The CDA advocates an exemption from the application obligation for jobseekers over 60 who do voluntary work or provide informal care on a structural basis and for several days a week. GroenLinks wants to abolish the consideration of social assistance. Valuation of informal care and voluntary work as equal forms of participation. The untaxed volunteer allowance will go up. Financial barriers such as the cost-sharing standard should not be an obstacle to caring for each other. There will be no informal care fine in the AOW.
Parties about Toddler Facilities and Childcare
PvdA, D66, SP, and GroenLinks are clearly in favor of childcare as a basic facility. The PvdA wants to follow the advice of the SER: all children between the ages of 2 and 4 receive a childcare offer of at least 16 hours per week. PvdA is also putting a dot on the horizon: towards a single facility for education and care for children between 0 and 12 years, regardless of whether parents work.
Parties about Refugees, integration
The PvdA advocates adapting the size of an asylum seekers’ center to the size of the village or city. D66 wants refugees to get language lessons and a job opportunity from day one. GroenLinks, like D66, argues for asylum seekers to have access to language education and to be allowed to work immediately upon arrival. The government provides language education for the integration of migrants. This language education is aimed at participation, through training, your own company, or work. The SP does not leave language and integration education to the market. This education is accessible, free and accessible, in the neighborhood, at schools, and at work. There will also be extra language education at the public broadcaster, via TV, radio, and the internet.