Finance

Cabinet allocates an extra 250 million for the Groningen earthquake area

That is what State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief for Mining wrote on Friday in a letter to the House of Representatives. The announcement comes at a good time for the driver. Next Monday and Tuesday he will visit the region to talk to those involved, including residents.

At the beginning of this week, long queues of people arose when applying for the 10,000 euros per household. It soon became apparent that the subsidy ceiling of more than 220 million euros had been reached and about 25,000 households were in danger of being left behind.

‘Not more than right’

“I regret the course of events and immediately said last Monday that I would do my best to see if I could solve this,” writes the state secretary. “It is only right for all those Groningen residents who have stood in line for hours without results, literally in the cold outside or digitally, that they can also apply.”

Groningen has been plagued for decades by earthquakes caused by gas extraction. Thousands of homes are slated to be upgraded because they do not meet safety standards, but in many cases this actually amounts to demolition and new construction.

Quickly but carefully

But not everyone qualifies for that reinforcement program. Many people have been insecure about this for a long time, and that is partly why they have done little to no maintenance on their home. This subsidy scheme has been set up for this group in consultation with the region.

It is not yet known when they can submit their application. Vijlbrief wants to make every effort to ensure that this is done as quickly as possible, but also carefully. In total, about 53,000 households in the earthquake zone could claim the scheme.

‘Only solution’

The extra millions are received with cheers in Groningen. The King’s Commissioner, RenĂ© Paas, speaks of a correct decision. “That way, every resident who is entitled to it can also claim 10,000 euros to improve his home.”

As the delegation leader of regional administrators, Paas has had a lot of contact with Vijlbrief in recent days. “We are pleased that the State Secretary immediately took the bull by the horns. Frankly, this was the only solution. But it still had to happen.”

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