September Declaration: Flemish government prioritises childcare and work incentives in budget deal

Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA, Flemish nationalists) made the final September Declaration of this legislature in front of the Flemish parliament on Monday, saying: "the common thread of the budget agreement is the protection of Flemish prosperity".

The notable details of this year's budget agreement, which is traditionally negotiated ahead of the minister-president's annual address to parliament, are the investment of 270 million euros in childcare, an increased "work bonus" - an annual premium for low-income workers - and the adherence to a balanced budget.

5,000 additional places

The agreed investment in childcare should, among other things, provide 5,000 additional daycare places and reduce the child-to-caregiver ratio. To increase the financial difference between working and not working, the work bonus system will be extended. It will be increased for the lowest wages from a maximum of 600 euros to 700 euros, while a change in the income threshold should extend the target group to 1 million people.

The education budget will be increased by 100 million euros. Education minister Ben Weyts (N-VA) plans to use this money for higher education and to tackle the shortage of teachers.

Mobility minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD, liberals) will get an extra 30 million euros to tackle the problems of school transport. There will also be a temporary premium for the purchase of new and used zero-emission cars.

Reaching an agreement in time for this year's September Declaration has been a particularly sensitive issue for Jambon's government ahead of the 2024 elections. Last year, he suffered the embarrassment of having to postpone the declaration by four days after the ruling parties failed to agree on a plan to reduce nitrogen emissions.


#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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