The cabinet is allocating an extra 250 million euros for the subsidy scheme in the Groningen earthquake area. The intention is that all Groningen residents who are eligible for 10,000 euros to improve their home can receive that amount.
On Monday, the applications led to chaos, because only 220 million euros had been allocated, while almost 50,000 households could apply for the subsidy. As a result, about 25,000 people threatened to fish behind the net.
State Secretary Vijlbrief for Mining writes in a letter to the House of Representatives that he regrets the state of affairs. “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 too can apply.”
A long time of uncertainty
The subsidy scheme is intended for Groningen residents who live in certain postcode areas in the earthquake zone, but who do not fall under the reinforcement program of the National Coordinator Groningen. Because it was unclear for a long time whether they would qualify for something, they often did little or no maintenance on their house for a long time.
It is not yet clear when these people can still submit their application – with a quotation of intended measures. Vijlbrief writes that he will make an effort to start the new round quickly. But he wants to prevent it from going wrong again.
“The only solution”
The Groningen King’s Commissioner, Paas, says in an initial reaction that he thinks it is a good decision. He has had a lot of contact with the new secretary of state in recent days. “We are happy that he immediately took the bull by the horns. This was honestly the only solution.”
Vijlbrief announced this week that he is going to Groningen on Monday and Tuesday for a first acquaintance. The King’s Commissioner expects this visit to “go into somewhat calmer waters” after the decision.
Mayor Hoogendoorn of the municipality of Midden Groningen expects that the amount that is still being added is “enough to allow everyone who is entitled to it to make use of the compensation scheme.”
“Eyes out of shame”
PvdA MP Nijboer calls the decision inevitable. “They should be ashamed of themselves that they let people nickel in the cold.” He also believes that two other crucial steps must be taken “to do Groningen justice”: the gas extraction should not be increased again and the children’s heart center should be preserved for the north.