The Dutch Parliament on Tuesday (December 18) opened a three-day debate on the energy crisis that faces the nation, and on the emergency powers the Government is asking for to cope with the situation.
IGV PAN EXT Parliament Building
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Background: The Dutch Parliament on Tuesday (December 18) opened a three-day debate on the energy crisis that faces the nation, and on the emergency powers the Government is asking for to cope with the situation.
Dutch Prime Minister Joop Den Uyl faces an attack on his centre-left coalition's policies to counter the energy crisis. The attacks have come from within the coalition and from the Socialist Trade Union Council. Both are angry that the Government plans to use the special powers to impose a flat-rate pay rise of 15 guilders (2.25 sterling) a month for all wage earners on January 1, with the prospect of another 15 guilders in April followed by a general review in the summer.
The Arab oil boycott, imposed for what was called "unreserved support for Israel", has led to a speeding up of the switch from oil to natural gas, which it is estimated, will provide extra employment for 20,000 people.
Other measures the Government have announced, include restrictions on employment of foreign workers, prices controlled to prevent speculation, rent increases set at a seven per cent maximum, and dividends frozen at the average of the last five years. Last week the Dutch Prime Minister said Holland could maintain its gross national product despite the Arab oil boycott, because of its natural gas reserves.
"The prospect may be gloomy, but it is not so gloomy in Holland as in other countries, because we have natural gas and we shall have to adapt our energy policies accordingly", he told a press conference.
More than 2,000 million guilders (310 million sterling) is to be invested in natural gas and Government spending is to be cut by 750 million guilders (155 million sterling).