Budget letters 2024: pleased with consideration of broad prosperity, keep an eye on feasibility

Every year, the Netherlands Court of Audit publishes its considerations on the draft budget that the government submits to the House of Representatives on the state opening of parliament. MPs can use this information in their debates of the budget in the House in the coming weeks and in the Senate in the weeks thereafter. 

Key considerations

The Court of Audit’s key considerations for parliament regarding the 2024 budget are: 

  • Projections should be seen in relation to policy results: financing should be simple and transparent. 
  • We are positive about the Minister and State Secretary for Finance’s follow-up to our recommendation to actively evaluate tax schemes and encourage them to continue their efforts. But we still have concerns about the funds. A lot of money has been released for a variety of funds, such as the Climate Fund and the Rural Transition Fund, but there is still no clarity about the funds’ concrete goal. A new addition to the 2024 budget is a statement of all on- and off-budget funds. 
  • Keep an eye on policy feasibility.
  • Policy feasibility at many ministries is under pressure from, for instance, staff shortages (Interior and Kingdom Relations) and IT problems (Finance). Policy implementation must be financed correctly (Justice and Security).
  • Consider the CBS’s Broad Prosperity factsheet in the budget debate. 
  • The caretaker government has again taken a step to integrate the broad prosperity goals into the budgets. This is to be applauded. It explains what budgeted expenditure will actually contribute to broad prosperity in a variety of policy fields in the Netherlands. 

Progress Monitor

The Court of Audit published its Progress Monitor at the same time as the budget letters. It provides an overview of the actions ministers and state secretaries have taken in response to the Court’s reports and recommendations. MPs can also use the Progress Monitor in their budget debates. According to the ministries themselves, more than 70% of the Court’s reports and recommendations lead to action. 

Specific topics

Individual budget letters look at specific topics such as the Housing Incentive Scheme, asylum capacity, false self-employment, medicine prices, fossil fuel subsidies, the Integrated Approach to Nitrogen, the Ukraine Facility and Defence investments.

The letters are only available in Dutch.