Time to say goodbye: Dutch government scraps STAP budget

For the first time in years, the Dutch government has to cut its budget. As a result, many government plans and programmes have to be stopped — including the STAP subsidy.

The reason behind the budget cuts? Other rising costs such as higher interest on public debt, an influx of Asylum seekers, and compensations to the province of Groningen for decades of gas extraction and the resulting earthquakes.

According to RTL Nieuws, the Dutch Cabinet will cut its budget by a total of €2.5 billion (ouch!). Almost all ministries have to surrender something as a result.

What is the STAP budget?
The Dutch STAP budget is (or should we say “was”) a government-funded training budget for people in the Dutch job market. 

By covering up to €1,000 of the costs for training programmes, the budget aims to help employees learn, advance, or retain their career skills without breaking the bank.

STAP budget? More like STOP budget

As De Volkskrant writes, the STAP subsidy currently costs the government around €200 million per year — a high price if you’re already struggling with other rising costs. 😬

When it was first introduced in March 2022, the STAP budget replaced tax deductions for employee training and education.

As a result, for many, it became completely free to advance or reorientate yourself on the job market (as long as your training course cost less than €1,000.)

Since its introduction, the scheme has become hugely popular among the Dutch workforce, and during the most recent application round in March, the €34 million budget was gone within just 2.5 hours.

Praise and criticism

The STAP budget was praised by Krien van Gennip, the minister of Social Affairs, due to its ability to help not just highly educated workers, but also applicants who have an intermediate vocational education.

The scheme also reaches many people in vulnerable positions on the labour market, such as job seekers, flex workers or self-employed persons without employees.

READ MORE | Learn the most in-demand digital skills for free with STAP!

At the same time, STAP received some criticism.

After the first rounds, it turned out that the money was often used for courses on things such as cryptocurrencies, analysing children’s drawings, and even a two-day “discover yourself” trip to Amsterdam, Antwerp or Paris. Really, guys?

At the start of 2023, many of these “hobby-like” courses were scrapped as rules for the budget were tightened.

On top of that, some training providers are said to have increased the costs of relatively cheap training courses to €1,000, to profit from the government’s budget.

Translation: Funny that courses that used to be €399 or €499 can now all be followed for free via the STAP budget and coincidentally all are €999 🙃

These were all things Van Gennip wanted to address in the future.

Details remain unclear for now

As of right now, it’s unclear when the STAP subsidy will be cut, but it’s likely that this year’s application rounds may still go ahead.

The government did confirm this afternoon that the application round of May 1 at 10 AM will go through as planned. A total of €32 million are available for this round. 

READ MORE | 5 tips to ACTUALLY get the STAP budget in 2023

Once the STAP budget is gone, the government will likely go back to introducing tax deductions for employee training and education.

What do you think about the government’s plans to scrap the STAP budget? Tell us in the comments.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Lyna Meyrer 🇱🇺
Say 'hoi' to Lyna, our Senior Writer at DutchReview! Fueled by a love for writing, social media, and all things Dutch, she joined the DR family in 2022. Since making the Netherlands her home in 2018, she has collected a BA in English Literature & Society (Hons.) and an RMA in Arts, Literature and Media (Hons.). Even though she grew up just a few hours away from the Netherlands, Lyna remains captivated by the guttural language, quirky culture, and questionable foods that make the Netherlands so wonderfully Dutch.

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