The left-wing green party GroenLinks has expressed concern over the effect of high energy prices on students.
On Wednesday, the party faction in the Groningen municipal council said that the cost-of-living crisis was hitting the students particularly hard, and urged the municipality to ensure students get help from the government. Poorest Dutch households received a one-time energy allowance as a compensation for high energy prices, but students were largely excluded from the scheme.
Although the municipality is responsible for the payment of the energy allowances, the funding comes from the central government. The municipality, therefore, has to follow the national guidelines to determine who is entitled to compensation. These guidelines state that students under 27 are not eligible for the government assistance. The municipality, however, has excluded students of all age groups, according to GroenLinks.
“That is why we asked the municipality to clarify whether students aged 27 and above are entitled to the energy allowance and whether the municipality can confirm this in its public communication,” municipal councilor Elte Hillekens was quoted by the Groninger Internet Courant as saying. Currently, students under 27, who encounter difficulties in paying their bills, can claim individual special assistance, but no such relief is available for older students.
GroenLinks said increased energy costs that cripple students’ budgets is one more reason to draw attention to the lagging energy performance of private rental properties. Students who live in poorly insulated homes are hit by particularly high energy bills.