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Dutch News
Tax authorities send out 30,000 wrong repayment letters 5/25/2014

Around 30,000 people have received a letter from the tax authorities wrongly demanding repayment of healthcare and housing support.
The letters were sent on May 15 and are recalculated final demands for healthcare and housing support in 2007, the Nos reports.
''If you have received one of these letters, you can assume the demand for repayment is wrong,'' the tax authorities say.
Recipients do not need to do anything. It will be sorted out and a written apology will be sent, the Nos quotes the tax office as saying.


Housing corporations plan major rent rises this year

Housing corporations are planning to increase the rent on social housing by an average of 3.1% for sitting tenants this year, according to the social housing monitor WSW.
The government has sanctioned an average rise of 4.2% a year up to 2018, which will take the average price of a rent-controlled property from €466 a month to €572, news agency ANP reports.
However, the WSW says it has doubts about the impact of the increase on tenants, given a large proportion live below the poverty line.
Housing corporations are increasing rents in order to help compensate for an extra tax the government has imposed on social housing providers. They are also building fewer new homes and cutting costs.
''At first glance, this measure would appear to restore the financial position of the sector,'' the WSW said. ''At the same time, social housing is becoming less affordable and the housing supply is getting older.''


''Health insurers are hoarding premiums to boost investments''

Dutch health insurers are hoarding increasing amounts of premium income to invest in boosting their reserves, the NRC says on Friday.
Since the beginning of 2012, the four big insurance groups'' reserves have grown by €2bn - or €175 per policy holder, the NRC says. In total, they now have more than €8bn - or 1.3% of GDP - set aside to cover financial risks.
The insurance companies have to set cash aside because they are taking bigger financial risks and are required to increase their capital reserves by the central bank, the NRC says.
More than enough
However, their current reserves include an estimated extra €4bn, the equivalent of €350 per policy holder, the NRC says. This is partly to pay for the extra tasks they will take on in 2015, such as paying for long-term care.
The four biggest insurance companies control 90% of the market. Achmea, which includes Zilveren Kruis, De Friesland, FBTO and Agis, is market leader with 32%. VGZ, a cooperative, has 25%
Achmea is the only one of the big insurers which is driven by profits, but nevertheless, their combined profits

Positive discrimination for male judges in The Hague?

There are so many women judges and officials working at The Hague court that management is considering giving priority to men, the AD reports on Thursday.
Some experts fear that having too many women will distort the image of neutrality at the court, the paper says.
The idea of positive discrimination for men has been discussed in an internal document but no decision has yet been taken, the paper says.
More women
The court declined to comment on the proposals in detail. However, criminal law professor Theo de Roos said he understood the concerns.
''There are implications for the legitimacy of the legal system if, for example, 80% of the judges are female,'' he said. ''Then the legal system is not representative and that is not good.''
The number of women judges outstripped men in 2008 and women now account for 56% of the judges'' bench, the AD says. In some courts, the percentage is far higher and has reached 64% in Utrecht.

 
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