Social disinvestment and vulnerable groups in Europe in the aftermath of the financial crisis: The case of households that have difficulties with making ends meet in the Netherlands

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    Abstract

    After the Netherlands in 2009 landed in the first of three recessions, the government, which took office in 2012, announced that spending cuts had become inevitable. Government deficits and government debts were increasing and the country no longer complied with the requirements for a stable currency union in Europe. Therefore, the Netherlands has implemented substantial spending cuts which were, among others, achieved by reforms of the social security system. An increased emphasis was placed on incentives to find work, whilst access to care facilities was made more difficult, in part by making access requirements more stringent. Now that the recessions of 2012 and 2013 are also behind us, society is confronted with an increase in both the number of social assistance benefit recipients and those living at risk of poverty. Increasing numbers of citizens are having difficulties with making ends meet (payment arrears and debts). In Rotterdam, the city heading the municipal poverty list, 17.2% of the households must survive on a low income and six per cent had had a low income for at least four consecutive years.
    This study articulates the experiences of ten of Rotterdam’s residents who found themselves in a finan-cially vulnerable position at the beginning of this study. They shared their experiences via three group ses-sions and two in-depth interviews. It may be assumed that these experiences, within the context of the broad spending cuts implemented in the Netherlands and the resultant increases in financial problems, are relevant not only for vulnerable households in Rotterdam, but also in the Netherlands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLeuven
    PublisherRE-InVest
    Number of pages42
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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