Rising costs and more expensive living. Concerns about purchasing power still exist, despite the proposed purchasing power measures. This is evident from research by the NH panel among 1,618 panel members. Yet they are much less negative than last year.
The majority of respondents still believe that the Dutch economy is not doing well. Particular attention is paid to all price increases. 55 percent think things are going moderately to poorly. Last year that was still 74 percent.
‘Inflation hits low and middle incomes’
Panel member Rob from the municipality of Zaanstad says: “Recovery from high inflation is not being passed on or is being passed on too slowly. Fuel and energy costs remain high. And the interest on savings is not keeping pace with European interest rate increases. It is mainly the low and middle incomes that take the hardest hits.”
The table below shows the panel members’ opinions on the economic situation in the Netherlands in 2023, compared to 2022. Text continues below.
Most panel members are satisfied with their own finances. More than a third (39 percent) say they are doing well or excellently, while a slightly smaller group (36 percent) assesses their own finances as sufficient. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have concerns. “At the moment everything is paid for and I still have some left over. But with the current developments in terms of increases, I don’t know whether this will remain the case,” says Jeroen from Alkmaar.
But there is also a large group (24 percent) who are doing moderately to poorly and have to do everything they can to make ends meet. “I pick up cans and plastic bottles for the deposit, eat yesterday’s bread and can no longer eat hot food every day,” said an anonymous participant.
Marleen from Den Helder adds: “I have a WIA benefit and have to survive on 150 euros a week with my two children. I have to do everything with that 150 euros. Fun things are not possible, let alone saving. We have to visit my family regularly. eat a mother to get a healthy meal.”
The table below shows the financial position of panel members in 2023, compared to responses from 2022. Text continues below.
The coming year is being looked at with suspicion. Almost 40 percent expect to deteriorate financially, while a slightly larger group thinks that nothing will change for them. But most NH panel members have concerns about their purchasing power to a lesser or greater extent.
Cut back on energy, groceries and outings
Especially since many of them already drastically cut their expenses last year to absorb price increases. 14 percent had to do this to a high or very high extent, 39 percent to a reasonable extent. Savings were and continue to be made mainly on energy. Skimping on groceries, outings and clothing is also still common.
“The heater is on 18, we take a shower for 3 minutes and we buy fewer luxury groceries”
Marieke from the municipality of Drechterland explains: “We have reduced the consumption. The heater is set to a maximum of 18 degrees, we take a shower for 3 minutes and we buy less luxury groceries. We have a family of 5 and I still give 200 per spend more on groceries each month. We do fewer outings and have gotten rid of the second car. Gasoline is not affordable and public transport is too expensive.”
Furthermore, people mainly look at the government measures or hope that the extreme inflation will be over.” Although a prize from the Postcode Lottery is welcome,” Maartje from Schagen finally expresses the wish of all lottery participants.
NH News panel: themes to invest in and cut back on
We also presented the panel members with themes to ask which ones were the most important to invest in and which could be cut back on. Participants were allowed to choose multiple. Here the top 4.
– Healthcare (61%)
– Residential construction (43%)
– Tax relief (23%)
– Environment/climate and education (both 22%)
Cut down on:
– Reception of refugees and housing status holders (50%)
– Development aid (39%)
– European Union cooperation (35%)
– Environment/climate (22%)
We conducted a survey among the members of the NH News panel about how they view the state of the economy in the Netherlands, their own financial situation and how they see the coming year. We also asked how they deal with price increases. A total of 1,618 people participated in the survey.
Would you also like to discuss all kinds of topics in North Holland? Then sign up here for the NH News panel. You will then be invited to our surveys approximately once a month.
This article is part of the series of Budget Day stories in which NH looks ahead to the coming year with the people of North Holland following the presentation of the Budget Memorandum. Are they worried or are they looking forward to the coming year with confidence? Do they expect their financial situation to improve or deteriorate? And do they have to make ends meet and if so, how do they do that?