Current issues related to economy, (responsible) investment, pension and income: every week an APG expert gives a clear answer to the question of the week. This time: chief economist Thijs Knaap on whether eliminating the STAP budget is a wise idea. “Nothing is more expensive than someone losing their job and then not being able to find work.”
Ninety minutes. That’s how long it took for the 10-million-euro STAP budget to be forgiven, on Monday morning. The government’s subsidy pot, intended for job-training for the labor market, thus remains as popular as ever. Despite the tightened rules. To prevent government money from being used for low-quality courses, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has conducted a sweep through the supply. In this round the only option was to apply for budget for OCW-recognized training and courses. Another difference with previous rounds is that this time “only” 10 million euros was available. In previous rounds that amount was much higher: in May there was 34 million euros in the pot. On November 15, 10 million euros will be allocated again. This will be the last round, as the government has decided that the subsidy program will end in 2024 due to budget cuts. How wise is that in view of the importance of a dynamic labor market?
Food for inflation
“It’s good that the government is cutting spending a bit,” says Knaap. “The deficits are now running quite high in times when the economy is actually doing very well. That feeds inflation. Also, the old adage applies that you make money during times when things are going well. Money that you can spend during times when things are not going as well. So, in that respect, I do understand. After all, those millions that don’t get spent can be entered directly as savings. That there are also costs in the long-term matters just a little less in The Hague logic.” On top of that, Knaap feels that criticism of the offer was strong. “Hence the tightening of the rules in this latest round. But what they haven’t adjusted is the application procedure. That’s something I don’t get. The system feels unfair; it’s a lottery. Whoever is lucky, or clever and logs in on time with multiple devices, has a better chance.”