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Cabinet increases funding for Groningen earthquake victims after chaos





Cabinet approved an additional €250 million for home improvement in earthquake-affected parts of Groningen after the €220 million initial funding ran out on the first day after an influx of applications.

Long queues formed in towns and villages in the northern province on Monday at council offices where people could claim up to 10,000 euros per home for renovations.

Hans Velbreev, the junior minister in charge of sorting out Groningen’s gas problems, told MPs on Friday that the new allocation of cash would allow everyone entitled to the grant to make a claim.

“I’m really sorry for the way things have gone and on Monday I said I’d do everything in my power to sort it out,” said Villebrew.

The funds are intended to help people in the northern county improve their homes, many of which have been damaged by land movements caused by 50 years of gas extraction at the Slochteren gas field.

Production is declining in the northern province, but last week residents were dealt a fresh blow when the government said it needed to extract 7.6 billion cubic meters in 2022, double what had been expected.


Much of the extra gas will be exported to Germany, where about five million homes are connected to Groningen’s gas network, after measures to improve cross-border energy efficiency fell short of expectations.

Groningen County Council has urged the government to reverse a decision to double the amount of gas produced in 2022.

The King’s commissioner in Groningen, Rene Bass, also apologized for dealing with the subsidy scheme and said he was considering sue the government if it went ahead with increasing gas production.

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