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Daily Dutch News in English

Dutch municipal debt exceeds 50 billion euros

According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands, the municipal debt in the Netherlands totalled nearly 51 billion euros in mid-2013. The municipal debt has grown over the past six years and is almost 14 billion euros up from mid-2007.

Debt has run up because municipal expenditure has exceeded revenue for years and years. Deficits were particularly high in 2009 and 2010, as municipalities received less income from land sales and municipal authorities implemented measures to stimulate the local economies. Municipalities managed to reduce their deficits in the next two years by cutting back on their expenses. Last year, municipal spending exceeded 52 billion euros. Total revenue amounted to 49 billion euros.

In the first six months of this year, the deficit has grown relative to the same period last year. The deficit increase is partly due to higher costs for social security benefits.

The municipal debt is growing, but the value of claims, e.g. bank balances, outstanding loans, deposits and other outstanding amounts is decreasing. From 2009 to 2010, the value of claims still increased due to the profits generated from the sale of energy companies Nuon and Essent (5.7 billion euros). Subsequently, the value of claims declined steadily: from 33 billion euros mid-2010 to nearly 25 billion euros mid-2013.