The VVD has found its perfect scapegoat. After years of VVD cutbacks to social housing and healthcare, asylum seekers are now being blamed for the housing shortage and healthcare costs. But does the VVD have a point with that? Guest blogger Bas Thijs of “Grutjes”, is happy to explain. this piece appeared earlier below his own blog.
Super short rude summary:
The care for refugees does indeed cost money. Do you know how much? 0,08% of the amount we all spend annually on care. Comparison: If you now spend 120 euros per month on your care, and twice as many refugees come to the Netherlands, you will therefore lose 9 cents more from now on. Is that a bit scary.
The VVD on the other hand, over the past ten years, your health insurance premium has become three times more expensive. Not 0.08%, but 300%.
The housing shortage is indeed influenced by refugees. Their influence on our social housing stock is no less than 0.77%.
Comparison: If twice as many refugees come to the Netherlands, you won't even have to wait one percent longer for your home. heavy!
The VVD on the other hand, it has a disastrous effect on our social housing market. She would prefer to abolish it. Due to the VVD, there are fewer and fewer social housing units, rents are rising sharply, and rent subsidy will probably be phased out in the future.
Conclusion: The VVD must stop scapegoating refugees, buy a mirror and dissolve itself if it wants less housing shortage and lower healthcare costs.
OK, now you know. Do you want to know more precisely? Then read on!
The VVD wants to deprive refugees of the so-called urgency status. At the moment it is still the case that people who urgently need social housing, because otherwise they would become homeless, for example, are given urgency. They will then be given priority over home seekers who already live somewhere and assigned a house. The VVD wants this to no longer apply to refugees. As soon as asylum seekers receive a residence permit and are recognized as refugees, they actually have to leave the COA reception center, and they will still have to go somewhere. But, says the VVD, it cannot be the case that our population can no longer find a home because refugees are given one. Do they have a point there? I'll get back to it in a minute. Minister of Housing Stef Blok (VVD) is in any case investigating whether he can meet the wishes of the VVD.
In the meantime, his VVD party colleague Zijlstra in particular does not miss an opportunity to defame refugees. Zijlstra mentions asylum seekers a threat to prosperity.
Salient detail: Zijlstra made these statements just today. The day after the coordinated attack by the far right on asylum seekers in Woerden, where 20 men dressed in black with balaclavas and firecrackers stormed shelter.
In the same interview, Zijlstra mentions the 'inviting' statements of German Chancellor Angela Merkel'maybe leadership, but the wrong thing.'
That must be the reason why Zijlstra himself, the day after the attack, calls asylum seekers an acute threat to the Dutch welfare state and social facilities. He frames them as people who come to the Netherlands for “plastic surgery, eyelid corrections, breast reductions or enlargements, a complete tooth renovation.”
That leadership may also be the reason why he wants to ban people with a temporary residence permit from working for their own money, give even less money than social assistance benefits, and just not want to starve in temporary 'container-like homes'.
He even wants to reassess them every year and send them back as soon as reception is possible “in the region”.
The region will be happy with that. In Lebanon (much smaller than the Netherlands) they now only receive 1.6 million refugees, instead of 36,000 like the Netherlands. Average catches “the region” about 80% of global refugees, which of course is nothing compared to Europe (last year 0.42%). In fact, refugees to be hungry in the relief camps in the region because Western countries that have pledged donations fail to keep those promises.
Zijlstra shows true leadership. To temporarily accommodate people here in the worst possible conditions and then put them on a plane to such a hunger camp. That will unlearn those neo-Nazis to attack asylum seekers in Woerden!
His moral leadership is also evidenced by the fact that earlier this week he called asylum seekers “Sharia seekerscalled…
It is not yet known when Halbe will take over the leadership from Scream White.
Rutte's reaction on the attack of anti-asylum seekers in Orange at Dijkhoff is more moderate, but not opposite. He has 'understanding of the emotions that the asylum problem evokes' and again frames asylum seekers as the source of all problems:
Rutte about the villagers of Orange who attacked Dijkhoff:
Ehhh… I checked and listened. He really says it. In a row.
It sounds like the native villagers of Orange may book a ticket…
What's really going on?
But in the meantime, apart from all the talk, what about the housing shortage and the costs of care? Do refugees influence this, and how much?
VVD and healthcare
The VVD occasionally calls out that the increase in healthcare costs is due to asylum seekers. They shout that a little less loudly than the story about housing shortage, because it is even more idiotic than moaning about housing shortage if you have just caused it yourself.
How's that? Let's look at it.
We all know, of course, that the VVD is strongly in favor of further liberalization of healthcare. Why should universities develop medicines if you can also make a multinational rich with it? That liberalization of medicines only crack costs, ah. Since VVD member Hans Hoogervorst abolished the health insurance fund in 2006, healthcare costs have risen from 43.8 billion in 2006 to 77.8 billion, and the premium you pay for your health insurance yourself has even become three times as expensive. But no, according to the VVD, it is not the VVD that is the problem, but the refugees.
Let's check how big their influence is.
Refugees and the costs of care
In 2015, the government will therefore spend 77.8 billion euros on healthcare. We do not know the healthcare costs of refugees, this is not recorded separately. We do know the healthcare costs of asylum seekers. As you know, not every asylum seeker gets a residence permit; there are therefore always more asylum seekers than refugees, and logically the healthcare costs of refugees are therefore not much higher than those of asylum seekers. Last year, the healthcare costs of asylum seekers 70 million. That is slightly less than one thousandth of the healthcare costs in the Netherlands.
It is expected that 130 million, ie almost twice as much, will be spent on care for asylum seekers this year, because there are simply more. That does indeed lead to an increase in the total healthcare costs, namely from 60 million divided by 77.8 billion = 0,08%.
Can you jokingly try to read 0.08% from a page? Difficult, hey, reading less than a single letter. Or else take a plank of one meter and saw off 8 ten-thousandths of it? Difficult, because that is less thick than your saw blade.
Let's stop with that nonsense. The VVD story that Dutch health care costs are rising enormously due to refugees is just demonstrably huge bullshit.
VVD policy and the housing market
The VVD has long stood for less government and more market. Minister Stef Blok is therefore against social housing. He does his very best to destroy it as quickly as possible, and he succeeds quite well.
He is forcing housing associations to sell more and more of their property. As a result, the social rental housing stock is shrinking, and rents are also rising enormously under Blok's inspired leadership.
The VVD does not do this alone. The PVV also votes time and again for higher rents and less social housing. And the PvdA does say that it wants to stand up for the weaker in society, but is now actually implementing VVD policy, and through its participation in the government makes the demolition of social housing possible.
And this VVD policy has consequences.
The housing shortage is increasing, the number of people who have been waiting for a home for years is increasing.
But that's no problem, because tadaaa, then the VVD simply blames asylum seekers.
The housing associations will have to pay no less than 1.6 billion "landlord tax" next year, a kind of crazy fine without anyone having done anything wrong. In fact, landlords are punished for not selling their property, because the VVD hates people who rent things.
Three guesses who will ultimately pay that 1.6 billion…
In addition, the VVD forbids people who, in their opinion, “earn too much” to rent socially. They put the blame on Europe, but that is largely unjustified, because the EU has given NL room to make this more flexible. Result: 17% of the home seekers earn too little to be able to rent or buy commercially, but are also no longer allowed to rent socially.
And, says Stef Blok: the housing market should be made more flexible. All those fixed leases, all those people who live happily in the same house all their lives, that's not good for the economy.
These so-called “skewed residents” are supposedly the cause of the complete housing shortage. Oh no, asylum seekers. Oh no, crooked residents. Nonsense of course.
- Skewed residents and fixed rental contracts are supposedly bad for the economy. Even if that were true… So what?
Housing is not meant to be good for the economy, Stef Blok. Not everything is in the service of your fictional economics gods. In fact, that economy should actually provide people (including nice houses for) instead of the other way around.
Housing is a basic necessity of life and a right. Your home should be safe and secure. It's not a Big Whopper that you consume as quickly as possible and prefer to rot right away and make room for the next customer. Your house is not a smartphone that is made in such a way that it runs out after three years and you get a new one. That is what the VVD stands for, but that is not what living stands for.
- Second, skewed living is largely a fictitious problem. Because skewed residents do exist, there are certainly some people who live quite cheaply in relation to their income. But they are not millionaires, and they are not hundreds of thousands, let alone a few million. Being in the Amsterdam region alone 320.000 houses are needed, which are not being built partly thanks to VVD policy.
Refugees and housing shortage
Okay, so those crooks are nonsense. What about those refugees who are given priority?
They do indeed get that. Not as soon as they enter the Netherlands, but as soon as they receive a residence permit, are finally allowed to work and integrate. And rightly so, because how should you integrate from an emergency shelter deep in the woods? Why should we pay for the much more expensive reception at COA if it is no longer necessary? Moreover, urgency is intended for people who, you guessed it, have urgency, such as refugees who can no longer stay with the COA and yet cannot sleep on the street.
What the VVD says is actually very strange. They say home seekers have to wait longer because home seekers get a house. Why this exceptional position for refugees? Why is it worse if someone who already lives somewhere, someone without urgency, has to wait a little longer, because some of the homes go to people who have an acute housing need?
There really seems to be only one answer to that. Racism.
The VVD wants to discriminate against recognized refugees on the housing market. And they would rather keep refugees in expensive asylum seekers' centers that are not intended for them, than simply invest in affordable housing for everyone.
I can't go with that. But on one point they are right: It is in itself true that because some of the houses are allocated to people with acute urgency, other people have to wait longer.
Ah, you say, but how often does that happen? What is the share of refugees in the total housing shortage? How big is the refugee problem?
Well, it actually isn't there. Last year, 18,600 asylum seekers received a residence permit. That may sound like a lot. It is not, it is a pittance on the total of home seekers. How many home seekers are there? Well, you might not think it's possible, but there's no record of that.
The housing shortage is so important to Stef Blok!
Nobody turfs the total. But often locally.
By way of comparison: the number of Amsterdam home-seeking students alone (ie non-Amsterdam workers, the elderly, children, Utrecht students, etc.) is almost four times higher than the total number of refugees with residence status. Those home-seeking students are officially with 70.500, in Amsterdam alone.
That is quite a different story than 18,600 refugees that can be distributed all over the country.
By the way, there are 2.4 million social rental homes in the Netherlands, and 18.6k / 2400k = 0.0077.
The total effect of refugees on the housing stock is therefore still less than 1%.
The housing shortage is therefore not at all due to refugees or skewed residents, but to the fact that the VVD has been trying for years to destroy social housing, and finally succeeds in doing so.
Because what is the problem
* the landlord levy I already mentioned
* the object subsidies have already been abolished.
Object subsidy meant that you received a subsidy for building a house for social rental purposes. And that is necessary, because the actual costs of housing are higher than the rent that you are allowed to ask according to the social rent limit. Corporations have a nice word for that, they call it the “unprofitable top“. This means that they make a loss on every house they build, even without a landlord levy.
* Stef Blok (VVD) wants us all more rent to pay or to buy. He says so openly, over and over. The rent allowance must also be reduced in the long term. Only: how are you supposed to pay social rent with a social security benefit of 800 euros per month, which can already be 700 euros, and in Blok's plans much more?
And what does Blok think he will do with all those homeless people?
* In order not to go bankrupt, the corporations are raising their property to sell and build them as little as possible.
Result: less and less social housing.
So the problem is not with asylum seekers or skewed residents, or with another scapegoat. It's not all those people who want to live on land instead of just going for a swim, or antisocial people who want a double bed, when they could also be in a much smaller room in a single.
No, it is simply the VVD itself that we have a housing shortage in the Netherlands, still and even worse. It is up to the VVD and all parties that allow the VVD to continue its liberalization policy, such as PVV, PvdA, CDA, D66 and so on.
Do not allow them to scapegoat very vulnerable people such as asylum seekers. The housing shortage is serious enough without pouring a thick layer of racism over it.
Photo: Mark Rutte: Central Government, (CC0 1.0) Halbe Zijlstra: Central government, (CC0 1.0) Scream White: Sebastian ter Burg (CC BY-SA 2.0) Bronze sculpture "the Scapegoat / the Scapegoat": Christine Jongen, (CC BY-SA 3.0)