- Number of social security benefits down by 15 thousand in 2008
- Reduction by almost half in 2008 relative to 2007
- Increase in 164 out of 443 municipalities in 4th quarter of 2008
- Most substantial decline since 2004 recorded among under-25s
Last year, the number of social security benefits paid to under-65s was reduced by 15 thousand. According to the most recent figures released by Statistics Netherlands, 259 thousand benefits were granted by the end of December.
In 2008, the number of social security benefits declined further for the fourth year running, but the reduction by 15 thousand was less substantial than in the preceding two years. In 2007 and 2006, the reduction amounted to 28 and 27 thousand respectively.
Since the Work and Social Assistance Act (WWB) was launched on 1 January 2004, the number of benefits paid to under-65s has dropped by 77 thousand (nearly 23 percent). The introduction of the WWB and the favourable economic conditions prevailing since 2005 contributed to the reduction.
The number of male and female recipients of social security benefits dropped by 27 and 20 percent respectively. Young people on social security benefited most from the thriving economic climate. The reduction by nearly 60 percent over the past half decade was most notable among people younger than 25.
Although the total number of social security benefits declined in 2008, the number of benefits rose each quarter in approximately one quarter of Dutch municipalities. In the fourth quarter of last year, the amount of social security benefits increased in 164 out of the 443 municipalities in the Netherlands. The increase was most obvious in municipalities with a population up to 100 thousand. Large municipalities showing an increase in social security recipients were Almere, Apeldoorn, Emmen and Haarlemmermeer. In the four major cities, where the proportion of social security recipients is highest, the number of benefits declined in the fourth quarter and also over the whole year 2008.
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