Substantial rise in healthcare costs in Eindhoven budget

Huge increase in heath care costs in Eindhoven budget
Photo Credit: Studio 040, Alderman Finance Maes van Lanschot with the budget case

The municipality of Eindhoven has presented the budget for 2024. The city government sees a substantial increase in spending on care and welfare. There are also concerns about long-term municipal finances. “The tasks are big,” said the council.

The city budget also amounts to a generous €1.1 billion this year. Of this, the largest amount, about €500 million, is reserved for the social domain, or care and welfare. For housing construction €107 million is reserved, and for measures against climate change, €95 million is set aside.

In some cost items, a special budget increase can be observed. Thus, the budget for social and women’s shelters rises from 16 million euros to 20 million. The budget for youth aid is also rising by millions of euros.

“We simply have a big task in this area,” says responsible alderman for finance Maes van Lanschot, who symbolically presents the suitcase with the budget to the city council on Thursday, just like the Minister of Finance does in the Lower House during Prinsjesdag. “We are dealing with an influx of refugees who need to be housed. We are dealing with an increase in homeless migrant workers and an increase in homelessness in general. Therefore, it is obvious that we are also incurring additional expenses. We cannot bury our heads in the sand,” said Van Lanschot.

Youth Care

Also noteworthy is the budget increase for youth care. “Youth care has been cut a lot in recent years. Now we notice that it is no longer possible. More money is needed, otherwise, problems will arise. The youth reform agenda is still in progress from the central government. There has been some extra money for a few years. We are working with the youth institutions to see how we can keep those costs manageable.”

“The thing is, if the costs keep rising in this way, and no money comes in, then at some point we’ll just have a problem.”

Less money

Indeed, there are considerable concerns at the municipality surrounding future funding. Namely, The Hague is planning to change the way municipalities are financed in a way that less money would go to Eindhoven.

The city has already let it be known through the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG) that there should be more money, not less. To reinforce that signal, a deficit of 5 million euros has also been included in the municipal budget – incidentally, without allocating that money to anything. Therefore, should The Hague not change the plans, there is no man overboard.

‘Painful future’

“It is clear that we have to invest more. There will eventually be 100,000 inhabitants. Of course, we have to invest then. From 2027 money is going to drain away because then all kinds of incidental money flows stop,” Van Lanschot said.

“Now it seems that as municipalities, including Eindhoven, we have more than enough money. But that’s really not so bad. If you see what needs to be done in the next 40 years. In terms of traffic, climate and housing. The pain is in the future. That’s the story we’re trying to get across.”

Too few resources

“It is true that there have been surpluses, but they consist of occasional pots of money. Look at housing construction, mobility, and also youth care. All municipal tasks for which we have actually been frankly underfunded in recent years. Yes, we were able to make balanced budgets, but if we had done what we should and wanted to do, it would have looked different,” Van Lanschot said.

Source: Studio040

Translation by: Chaitali Sengupta

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