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10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

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Irritation over PvdA using poverty relief for PR

11 November 2008 - After the national PvdA suggested local branches to give the poor 50 euro as a way to promote the party, city council member Emre Ünver (PvdA) proposed a motion to that effect. Coalition party GroenLinks and opposition party SP are sceptic.

Earlier this year, the national government decided to make 50 million euro available for municipalities in order to give the poor a 50 euro year-end bonus. In Amsterdam, over 75,000 households qualify, according to an estimate by the Stimulansz consultancy.

Today, newspaper AD revealed that State Secretary Ahmed Aboutaleb and a number of MPs, all PvdA members, sent local party branches an e-mail: "You can promote this initiative locally as a PvdA initiative. In this way, the success will reflect on your local branch".

And so they did. Dozens of local newspapers have reported PvdA initiatives to give the poor a 50 euro bonus, duly noting that PvdA MPs Hans Spekman and Paul Tang had made this possible. In Amsterdam, the PvdA announced the bonus proposal at its website, also crediting Spekman and Tang, but local media seem to have ignored it.

In some cities, the PR stunt met with resistance. In Schouwen-Duivenland, GroenLinks voted against a PvdA motion. "As sympathetic as the proposal may sound, that PvdA motion is unnecessary", party leader Theo de Gelder said, claiming that the poor would have gotten the 50 euro anyway. The alderman did not deny this.

In Amsterdam, the SP voiced similar objections to Ünver's proposal, says council member Carlien Boelhouwer. She says it is ridiculous to locally 'plant a PvdA flag' on the bonus.

Judith Sargentini, party leader of coalition party GroenLinks, calls the PvdA PR stunt 'not very tasteful'. She says the 50 euro bonus amounts to charity and that Aboutaleb should raise the social minimum if he really wants to fight poverty.

Ünver's motion will be put to a vote in December. Despite their criticism, it seems unlikely that GroenLinks and SP will go as far as vote against it.

Image: Aboutaleb in election campaign in Osdorp (photo PvdA Amsterdam)

See also: Sinterklaasactie PvdA voor herhaling vatbaar (in Dutch)


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