Our advice on the biggest challenges of the Netherlands

With an ambitious agenda and a hefty investment budget, a new cabinet is embarking on major social challenges in areas such as energy transition, education, housing and security. And this comes at a time when every economic forecast is surrounded by uncertainties, not least because the COVID-19 crisis is far from over. Our experts share their vision of what will be needed in the near future to give the Netherlands a foothold in tackling its biggest challenges.

Pricing can help solve nitrogen problem

Pricing is in theory an effective and efficient policy instrument for reducing harmful nitrogen emissions. That is the conclusion of PwC's report 'Does pricing offer a structural solution to the nitrogen problem?’. The report presents pricing, especially in the European context, as a possible part of the structural approach to nitrogen. It points out that more attention is needed for shaping the long-term nitrogen policy. PwC advises the government to investigate the possibilities of (European) pricing further.

Read more and download the report

Verkiezingen Nederland

Focus on the pupil, not the technology.

Together with the other ministries concerned, the Ministry of Education needs to formulate a more overall vision for education, the role of technology and the health of young people.

  • Avoid focusing on technology.
  • Consider the desired learning outcomes during technological transformations.
  • Provide a healthy living environment in schools.

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Central control and a stronger political mandate needed for digitalisation

A government wanting to improve how its policy is implemented cannot escape the need to improve its digital infrastructure. This calls for more central control and a stronger political mandate. Our advice is this:

  • Have the top echelons of ministries take ownership.
  • Provide temporary rather than structural extra budget.
  • Reward successful ministries that perform well.

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Woningcorporaties van de toekomst

Healthcare of the future: better and less expensive

The challenge of healthcare: how do we maintain and improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare whilst reducing its overall cost? Three major issues call for attention and solutions:

  • accelerating and scaling up healthcare innovation
  • retaining the accessibility and affordability of medicines
  • addressing labour market issues.

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A Ministry of Housing

A Minister of Housing who takes back central control of the construction and planning of new housing is needed to solve the problems in the housing market.

  • It will not be enough to abolish or reduce the landlord levy.
  • Reintroduce a Ministry of Housing, with its own minister and budget.
  • The ministry would deal not only with the housing corporations, but with all the parties involved.

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Arbeidsmarkt - Vergroot motivatie werknemers

Increase employee motivation

The outgoing government's plans to reform the allowances system present an immediate opportunity to solve staff shortages in the healthcare sector, explains Bastiaan Starink. His advice:

  • Base retraining on the needs of employers.
  • Make sure that it pays to work more hours.
  • Increase employee motivation by making jobs more attractive.

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Ban on sale of new fuel-driven vehicles by 2030 is achievable

The ambition of the Climate Agreement to sell only fully electric new vehicles in the Netherlands from 2030 is achievable. By that time, there will be enough affordable models on the market, enough charging points and enough green electricity to run these vehicles. That's according to the PwC study "The achievability of 28 billion electric vehicle kilometres by 2030".

  • By 2030, we will be working towards 1.9 million fully electric vehicles.
  • A gradual increase in electric vehicles is vital to allow us to put the infrastructure in order.
  • Appeal to the next government: devise an integrated mobility strategy.

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Security is a matter for many ministries

The digital world has now become part of the fabric of the physical world. This calls for a fundamentally different approach to the concept of security.

  • Make security a matter for all ministries involved.
  • Involve businesses and citizens.
  • Adjust HR policies to acquire the desired skills.

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Put social issues at the heart of tax reform 

Last year, in its "building blocks report", the Dutch government presented policy options for making the tax system future-proof, something that a new government can use as a starting point. PwC believes that social issues, rather than tax issues, should be the guiding principle. 

  • Momentum is growing in favour of a fundamental review of the tax system.

  • A precondition for this is higher budgets for implementation.

  • The formation of a new government coalition must result in the greening of the tax system.

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'The world needs to take into account 'the known unknowns,' major crises that you don't know what they look like but have major consequences. It would be wise if the potential impact of these crises were reflected in government plans and policies.'

Jan Willem Velthuijsen - chief economist PwC


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