Nationalists put a price on their proposals

At a press conference held on Friday afternoon, the Flemish nationalist party presented a cost analysis of the proposals contained in its manifesto for the forthcoming federal, regional and European elections. The party hopes to make savings in amongst other things unemployment benefits. The party also wants to scrap the current system of early retirement and the benefit payments made to school leavers not yet entitled to unemployment benefit.

By applying the so-called “Moesen norm” (named after the Leuven University professor that thought it up), Federal Government public expenditure would be frozen.

In addition to this, the party also has a whole series of proposals that “will reward people for working”.

Plan V is the title of part II of the nationalists’ manifesto. The party says that it wants to take measures to aid economic recovery from day 1.

The nationalists propose abolishing the 45% tax rate levied on taxable income between 20,370 and 37,330 euro and raising the upper limit of the 40% tax rate to 35,000 euro.

The so-called “social work bonus”, a tax break for those on low incomes, would be raised and the amount of social security contribution payable by those on low incomes would be reduced if the N-VA were to get its way.

Those on the minimum wage would no longer have to pay social security contributions on their income. The nationalists say that this would mean a 2 to 3% rise in net income for those earning less than 3,000 euro gross/month.

The party also proposes reducing the amount companies have to pay into the federal coffers by 4.5 billion euro. The nationalists propose skipping the next predicted index-linked 2% rise public service wage rise in 2015. However, benefits and pensions would be unaffected by the proposals.

The system of index-linking wages would also be reformed with the aim of reducing the so-called “wage handicap” with neighbouring countries by 5% in the next 2 years.

Some of the party's other proposals

• Reducing corporation tax from 34% to 25%

• The system whereby risk capital can be offset against tax will be phased out.

• The "Moesen norm" will see all federal government and social security expenditure being frozen in 2015 and 2016.

• Unemployment benefit would be limited to a maximum period of 2 years.

• The system of "time credit" would become less wide spread.