How one of Europe’s worst hit countries is dealing with the cost of living crisis

·3-min read
This is a photo of beautiful buildings in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The Netherlands is dealing with soaring inflation and a cost of living crisis (Getty)

With widespread supply shortages, global food prices at a record high, and energy markets in turmoil, the cost of living crisis is an issue affecting the world.

Europe and the US are seeing their inflation figures rise to levels not seen for decades as the world emerges from the pandemic and demand for many services that were shut down for more than a year ramps up.

On Wednesday, official figures showed inflation in the UK has risen to 7%, up from 6.2% in February – and higher than analysts had expected.

Europe is similarly in the grip of soaring prices, with a Eurozone average of 7.5% inflation in the year to March 2022, according to Eurostat.

Read more: These are the key things that are making the cost of living more expensive

Netherland's Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks during a press conference after the weekly Council of Ministers in the Hague on April 8, 2022. - Netherlands OUT (Photo by Phil Nijhuis / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by PHIL NIJHUIS/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime minister Mark Rutte said the Dutch must accept being ‘a little poorer’. (Getty)

One of the worst hit countries in the EU so far is the Netherlands. Inflation hit 11.9% in March, a figure below only Lithuania (15.6%) and Estonia (14.8%).

At the start of April, prime minister Mark Rutte said the Dutch must accept being ‘a little poorer’, warning not everyone could be compensated for the sharp rise in prices.

A report by Dutch news organisation NU found food bank usage in the country's largest cities was rising sharply, and many people expected the rise to continue.

However, the government has announced several billions worth of euros to help the poorest in society deal with the increase in cost of living.

Watch: Martin Lewis explains how £150 council tax rebate will be paid into your bank

Read more: Cost of living crisis: The everyday food items that are soaring in price

In the Netherlands, inflation is being largely driven by rising fuel prices.

To counter this, the government has increased its energy benefit to €800 and slashed VAT on energy bills from 21% to 9%.

The €800 payment is only for low-income households, but has been increased from €200.

The VAT reduction is expected to save all households around €140 over six months.

The British government has also announced several support packages to help people through the cost of living crisis by offering support with energy bills.

However, this has been criticised as not going far enough, especially for low-income households.

In the UK people are being offered a £200 'discount' on their energy bills this year, but this will be paid back over five years.

Person heating their hands at home over a domestic portable radiator in winter
Many in the UK are struggling to pay for their energy bills. (Getty)

All households in bands A-D are also being given a £150 rebate on their Council Tax, this does not need to be repaid.

£144 million is also being given to councils to allow them to hand out support to those who need it most.

Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said the rise will be “potentially ruinous for millions of people across the country”.

The charity said around five million people would be unable to pay their energy bills from April, even accounting for the support the government has already announced.