The Flemish government has reached an agreement on its budget for the coming year, minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA) announced.
The negotiations took some time, and finished in the early hours of this morning. Details will be announced on Monday, when the minister-president makes a traditional September Declaration in the Flemish parliament.
However what is already clear is that there will be no change to the service cheques regime, the system by which people pay a fair wage to home help such as cleaners. Since the region was looking forward to a hole in its finances of €2 billion, it was assumed that some increases in income would be required.
However after the latest calculations, the gap appears to have shrunk to €1.8 billion, which allows the service cheques to remain untouched.
This was the preference of CD&V, whose vice-premier Hilde Crevits yesterday said, "Where do you stand when people want to buy service cheques, but there are no more employees who want to work in the sector," as she entered the negotiations.
The service cheques will stay at the same price, and will be tax-deductible at the same rate as before.
The same goes for the so-called job-bonus, supported by CD&V and Open VLD. That consists of a support measure for employees and the self-employed on low wages, who can now claim a tax deduction of €50 a month.
"At a time when we want to activate people on the labour market, when we know that there are people with a low income – the working poor – doing something extra for them is only fair,", said vice-premier Bart Somers (Open VLD).