More purchasing power in the Caribbean Netherlands
One in three residents in the Caribbean Netherlands lives in poverty. That is why this cabinet is allocating €30 million in 2024 to improve the purchasing power of residents of Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius. From 2025, this amount will be increased to €32 million annually.
Among other things, the money will go towards increasing benefits in the Caribbean Netherlands in 2024, the exact increase of which is still to be determined. With this, the cabinet is taking important steps to achieve a social minimum on Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius. Child benefit is also going up by $90 per child per month. This is in line with the ambition to halve child poverty by 2025. Furthermore, the government is maintaining the energy allowance of $1,300 per year for the lowest incomes as well as subsidising the fixed costs of electricity. Also, the fixed rate of drinking water and the connection fee for internet will go down further. In addition, extra money goes to better public transport and lower transport costs every year.
State Secretary Van Huffelen:
"For many people on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, a roof over your head, food on the table or extra necessities for children is not a given. This cabinet wants to do something about that. That is why I am happy that, together with colleague Carola Schouten, we have succeeded in setting aside a considerable amount of money, not only for this year but also for the coming years, to improve the lives of residents on the three islands. To start with, by further increasing benefits, but also by still contributing to basic services like water and electricity. We are not there yet, but it is an important next step to tackle poverty on the islands. I am therefore also very much looking forward to the findings of the Social Minimum Committee. Knowing that central government, employers, public entities, and residents desperately need each other to create an equal level of services and reduce the cost of living."