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Dutch News
Amsterdam wins Brussels’ innovation award, and €950,000 4/10/2016

Amsterdam has been chosen as European capital of innovation in the annual iCapital competition organised by the European Commission. Amsterdam was recognised for its good start-up climate and its sharing economy, as well as the way city officials approach innovation issues. The prize brings with it €950,000 to be used on further boosting innovation. Berlin, Paris, Milan and Eindhoven were among the other eight finalists.

One in five households pay ‘too much rent’ for their income

Almost one in five households in the Netherlands is living in a property which is too expensive for it, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday. In total, 500,000 households are paying more than a reasonable rent for their home, more than double the 2009 figure, the CBS said. In particular in Amsterdam there is a shortage of affordable property for people on average incomes. Housing corporations have been raising the rent on vacant rent-controlled properties and the shortage of social housing is also pushing up prices, the CBS said. On average, households spend around one-third of their disposable income on housing. Tenants spend 39% of their income on housing but tens of thousands are paying over 50% of their earnings on rent, broadcaster Nos said. Threshold The number of people living in social housing who technically earn too much to do so has fallen from 28% in 2009 to 18% now, the CBS said. This is largely the result of government policy, which has allowed landlords to increase the rent of high earners by more than inflation. Housing with a rent of over €710 per month is not rent-controlled and tenants cannot claim housing benefit. Tenants must have an income of below €34,678 a year to qualify for social housing.

Financial services watchdog issues fewer fines, raises more money

The Dutch financial services authority AFM handed out fewer fines last year than it did in 2014 but the actual amounts were higher, according to the watchdog’s annual report. In total, the AFM issued 17 fines in 2015, compared with 31 in 2014. The amount raised was €9.6m, which is over €2m higher than the 2014 total, the NRC reports. The AFM said it had issued fewer fines because last year it concentrated on bigger, more complex cases. The biggest fine went to ABN Amro, which had to pay €2m for failing to meet information requirements about derivatives sold to small and medium-sized companies. Among the other fines: Insurance group Delta Lloyd had to pay €750,000 for misusing information about changes in interest rate calculations in 2012.

More stolen bank card crime but less skimming, say Dutch banks

Fraud using lost or stolen bank cards netted thieves €4.7m in the Netherlands last year, up €1.4m on 2014, the Dutch banking association NVB said on Friday. The NVB said the increase is largely due to people responding to fake emails asking them to use their pin codes on a given website and to send in their own bank card in exchange for a new one. There has, however, been a drop in the number of cases of skimming, or reading cards’ magnetic strips, the NVB said. This is due to the switch towards chip-based payments in Europe. Most of the cases of skimming involved cards which had been copied outside Europe. Losses stemming from fraud involving internet banking went down by €1m to €3.7m. Most of this was refunded by the banks. Just 1.1% of the total was not refunded because of ‘gross negligence’ by the customer, the NVB said. The banks reported no cases of fraud involving contact free payment and payment by app.

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