One in ten adults in the Netherlands is in a “vulnerable position,” the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) said in a report on Wednesday. These people have “problems accumulating in different areas,” such as few social contacts, financial problems, and problems with doing the housework.
This group often has financial and social problems but does not have the resources to solve them independently. As a result, they are more often lonely and less satisfied with their lives, the advisory body said in its report “View on concerns.”
The SCP said that citizens don’t trust enough that they can fall back on help from the government. “People experience barriers to accessing support from the social domain.” Application forms are often complicated, the aid system challenging to understand, and information mainly available digitally, the SCP said. “Municipalities seem to assume a self-reliant and (digitally) skilled citizen,” according to the SCP.
The organization advised municipalities to be more alert to people with an “accumulation of problems” and not to overestimate their self-reliance. The provision of information should also be made more accessible and simpler.
More higher-income people needed financial aid last year
The Dutch Association of Public Credit (NVVK) also reported that people with higher incomes sought financial help more often than unusual last year. The sector organization based this on data from municipal departments for financial aid and from foundations and private organizations.
Last year, 30 percent of people who went to a financial aid provider had an average income (38,500 euros gross per year at the time) and 13 percent an above aver income. A year earlier, 24 percent had an average income (37,000 euros gross per year at the time), and 9 percent had an above-average income. According to the NVVK, the energy crisis and inflation, in particular, caused financial problems for people with higher incomes.
“On the one hand, it is disturbing that people have an insufficient buffer to absorb setbacks in their lives (such as higher energy costs due to war). On the other hand, it is positive that some of them managed to find their way to financial aid. For these groups, the municipality is not the first institution they think of when they have financial problems,” said the NVVK.
The number of entrepreneurs needing financial help also increased sharply in 2022 compared to a year earlier. The number increased by 58 percent, from 2,186 to 3,447.
The total number of debt arrangements actually decreased last year. According to the NVVK, this is because fewer people reported for debt assistance in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This still had consequences a year later, partly because setting up debt settlement takes a lot of time.
Reporting by ANP