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The Dutch government reveals the budget overshadowed by the virus

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There was no horse-drawn carriage through The Hague by King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima and no joint meeting of the two chambers of the Dutch parliament, known as the General States of the Netherlands, in the historic Knights Hall.

Instead, lawmakers gathered to hear the kings speak at a church near the parliament building.

Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said as he unveiled his budget plan that the Netherlands had fallen since reporting 23 consecutive quarters of economic growth in February to the biggest economic contraction since World War II.

To a large extent, the blow has not yet come, the minister warned. Unemployment will rise next year; more companies will go bankrupt and public finances will find it difficult.

The Hoekstras ministry expects to spend an additional 45.9 billion euros ($ 54.5 billion) this year and in 2021 to protect businesses and jobs. Over the same period, it expects to lose about 16.6 billion euros in revenue such as taxes due to the coronavirus crisis.

Instead of having a budget surplus like last year, the government forecasts a deficit of 7.2% 56 billion euros this year and a deficit of 5.5% or 45 billion euros in 2021, the finance ministry said.

Hoekstra said the numbers could vary depending on the course of the pandemic and its impacts.

Like running in the fog, he said.

But with a national election scheduled for March, the government also stressed that it had created strong advocates in recent years and found the money to want voters with income tax cuts to go along with the billions to defend countries of work and businesses threatened by the virus.

The king raised broad themes in his annual speech from the throne written by the government.

The government is choosing not to make cuts in these uncertain times, but instead to invest in job creation, good public facilities, a stronger economic structure and a cleaner place now and in the future, Willem said. Alexander.

Coalition government Prime Minister Mark Ruttes has already poured billions of euros into setting up the hard-hit sectors of the economy in a bid to protect jobs. He is also investing in programs to help people who lose their jobs find jobs in other professions such as healthcare and education.

The country’s public health institute reported that 8,265 people tested positive for COVID-19 last week, up from 5,427 the previous week. The percentage of positive tests also increased from 2.8% to 3.9% and was significantly higher in the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said Monday that the world’s gross domestic product of the 20 largest industrialized nations fell by a record 6.9% in the second quarter from the previous three-month period.

Usually, thousands of people line the streets and gather outside a palace on budget day to see a brief glimpse of the royal family, but police and local officials urged the public to stay away this year.

Early Tuesday, there was only one man standing outside the Noordeinde Palace.

Sleek in an orange suit and black hat with a gold bow and standing behind a home crown bumper, Johan Vlemmix said he drove three hours to reach The Hague, as he has done every day on a budget for more than 20 years.

Surreal surreal, he said. You see the red carpet is stretched, the king has arrived and there is no one here. I have never tried this.

Follow AP pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/Und UndingingtheOutbreak

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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