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Dutch News
More people affected by economic crisis 6/30/2013
An increasing number of people are noticing the effects of the economic crisis, according to figures released on Friday by the government''s socio-cultural policy unit SCP. In the second quarter of this year, 62% of those questioned said they were noticing the effects, compared with 41% in 2009, the year after the banking collapse. They know more people who are out of work or have lost their own job. They are also concerned about rising costs, particularly in healthcare, while their salaries remain the same or are reduced. The government must invest in creating jobs say 87%, compared with 65% in 2009. Confidence in the government has fallen, says the SCP. One month after the election in September 2012, 57% said they trusted the government. That figure is now down to 48%. Confidence in the banks has fallen even more. In 2009, 58% still trusted the banks, but that figure is now 33%. Support for the European Union and the euro is crumbling, says the SCP. The number of people who support EU membership fell from 45% in the first quarter of 2013 to 41% in the second quarter, the lowest level in five years. Support for the euro was also down in the same period, from 36% to 28%.

Talks on education spending cuts break down

Employers and unions walked out of talks with the government on planned cuts to the education budget on Friday afternoon, the Telegraaf reports. The breaking point was the intention to keep teachers'' salaries at their present level for another year. Salaries have been frozen since 2009. ''A fifth year of frozen salaries is unacceptable,'' said CNV union leader Helen Van den Berg. ''We will only resume talks when the minister offers a decent plan with room for manoeuvre in teachers'' salaries,'' she said. Government spending plans for education also include axing €300m from the special education budget and turning student grants into loans.
Socialist party MP Jasper van Dijk told the Telegraaf the breakdown in the talks was unavoidable. ''It is extremely stupid of the government to introduce new budget cuts when we should be investing in education,'' he said. Education minister Jet Bussemaker and her junior minister Sander Dekker said they have an agreement in mind that will make ''an important contribution to improving the quality of education and making teachers more professional''.

Exam results held up by postal strike

Over a dozen schools are still awaiting exam results which are being held up by the strike at PostNL. The strike, which began on Monday in Amsterdam and has now spread to other areas of the Netherlands, has hit exam results which were sent to a second school to have the marks confirmed. These results are now stuck in a distribution centre. It is not known how many pupils are affected. Freelance delivery workers are protesting at the low tariff being offered by PostNL for each parcel delivered.

Speed limit goes up to 130 kph on more roads

The maximum speed limit will go up to 130 kph on Friday, transport authority Rijkswaterstaat says. Parts of the A4, A5 and A32 will see an increase in the speed limit, but motorists will still face a plethora of differentiated limits. While motorways allow drivers to travel at 130 kph on some stretches, in built-up areas speeds are reduced to as little as 80 kph to meet sound and pollution levels. The government wants 60% of all motorways to have the new higher speed limit, but will not allow more roads to bring it in until safety regulations are met.

Quality of childcare centres improves:

The quality of childcare centres has improved for the first time in several years, the consortium for childcare research NCKO said on Thursday. The organisation visited 50 daycare centres in 2012 and found they made large investments in quality since the last research was carried out in 2008, particularly in the areas of health and socialisation. However, the research says the educational aspect of childcare still needs improving, with over half the centres visited being below par. ''But this is still a turning point,'' the NCKO''s Ruben Fukkink told the Telegraaf.

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