The Hague for Everyone

Summary of the election program of The Hague Labour Party, PvdA 2018-2022

The Hague, a city to be proud of! A green city, with beautiful beaches and dreamlike dunes. A diverse city, with as many as 180 nationalities. Also, the city where the first vegetarian snack bar was opened. The city that is nationally famous for its pop culture. The city of Peace and Justice, where we pride ourselves on our tradition of hospitality and tolerance. A city unlike any other in the Netherlands.

Even though we have much to be proud of as citizens of The Hague, our city also faces significant and urgent challenges. Like the fact that many our fellow citizens feel unheard, misjudged, and even excluded altogether. Their experience as citizens of The Hague is one of stark contrasts when it comes to affordable housing and equal employment opportunities. The Hague PvdA strives to overcome these challenges and make this city a home for everyone.

An Affordable Home for Everyone

The Hague is a wonderful city to live in. However, it’s becoming increasingly hard for more and more people to find a good, affordable home. Endless waiting lists for social housing, continuing increases in rental prices for students and starters looking in the private housing sector, and elderly citizens that need a smaller, modified house but fail to find any in an affordable price range. With our city continually growing, serious investments are necessary to ensure an affordable home for everyone, now and in the future. We cannot stand by as our fellow citizens with lower incomes are driven out of this city, while shrewd llandlords and big investors are free to charge sky-high rental prices for inadequately maintained houses.

The Hague PvdA will invest 1 billion euros to facilitate enough affordable houses for families with low incomes, divorced people, students, starters and refugees. Through this investment, we can make sure that in the future new construction projects always include social housing and affordable house prices, in every neighbourhood. In addition, social housing can only be demolished on the condition that it will be replaced with new social housing comparable in rent, and the inhabitants can return.

Too many of our fellow citizens live in badly maintained rental homes, feeling powerless against unreliable landlords or immense housing corporations. Moisture, mould, noise pollution, and a lack of fire safety and protection against burglaries are serious issues that many living in this city suffer from daily. We cannot accept this. That’s why we must hold housing corporations to agreements on their responsibility. In addition, extra investments are needed to ensure that more of such renovations are done in a timely manner. To combat issues such as inadequate maintenance, we will make sure that the The Hague Housing Inspection Bureau (Haagse Pandbrigades) enjoys sufficient manpower and possesses the necessary tools to operate effectively.

Our climate is changing, and ensuring that our city becomes climate neutral is still a significant challenge. To reach climate neutrality, it is of vital importance that all houses in The Hague become sustainable as soon as possible. Because higher-income people have access to better information about subsidies for sustainability, they are also able to obtain such subsidies more easily. People with less time and money should also be able to benefit from such subsidies. Otherwise, sustainability might serve to widen the gap between wealthy and poor citizens of The Hague, leaving people with lower incomes to unnecessarily suffer from higher energy bills.

Also, it is vital that the entire Netherlands stops making use of the gas extraction in Groningen. In order to do so, we must build new houses that employ alternative energy sources instead of natural gas.

Our measures:

  • A total of 1 billion will be made available to both build and renovate houses. With this investment, we will build 16.000 new houses and renovate 25.000 existing houses. 
  • The demolition of any social housing must be replaced with new and more social housing. The inhabitants of any social housing that is to be renovated or demolished and thus replaced, will have the opportunity to return to the, either renovated or new, house and pay a similar amount of rent. 
  • Housing corporations will be held strictly to the agreements we have made with them, such as the renovation a total of 10.000 subsidized houses. In addition, we will ensure that a total of 25.000 privately-owned subsidized houses in The Hague will be renovated.  
  • The Hague Housing Inspection Bureau will not only be expanded but also receive a much larger budget to ensure the quality and continuation of their important work. 
  • We will invest in the sustainable renovation and construction of new houses.
  • To make sure everyone can live in a suitable home, we will build more houses that are adequate to the needs of our older citizens. Moreover, we will facilitate support for older citizens in need of a smaller, modified house. 
  • We will take measures to allow for more affordable homes in the private housing sector.

The Hague for Everyone

The Hague is a colourful and diverse city with an international profile. More than half of our city’s population is of non-Dutch descent. Such diversity offers many opportunities but also poses challenges. The Hague PvdA strives for a unified society in The Hague: a society where everyone can feel at home. We will make this happen by vigilantly combating discrimination, by standing up against practices such as ethnic profiling, and discrimination in the workforce.

In addition, we must encourage people to more often actually report discrimination, so that necessary measures can be introduced faster. We would also like for the different citizens of The Hague to encounter each other more often. To do so, we will restore the traditional role of local community centres, in facilitating a meeting place for neighbourhoods, and ensure children from different neighbourhoods go on school outings together, for example, so that they can learn about each other and the diversity of this city.

Good education

Every child in The Hague deserves equal opportunities when it comes to good education. But recent years have shown that where you live in this city,  determines the available opportunities for children to an unacceptable extent. In less than 10 years we have seen a drastic trend, where the parents’ level of educationlargely determines the advice elementary schools give regarding the secondary school level deemed appropriate for a child. That is unacceptable. The Hague PvdA will set up a municipal pre-school, so that all children can enjoy equal opportunities in education. In addition, The Hague PvdA will ensure that the voluntary contribution asked of parents of elementary school children is indeed that: voluntary., The Hague PvdA will also set up a municipal institute to support children who have trouble with their homework, as well as invest in more language courses close to home for adult students.

The end of poverty in The Hague

We will not accept poverty in The Hague. The Hague PvdA believes that local government should be there for its citizens when they need a little help along the way. Through policies aimed at combating poverty, we can ensure a safety net for people, sothey can participate fully. We, as The Hague PvdA, are proud of the way we have dealt with poverty in our city. Although much has been done by the municipality of The Hague to drive poverty out of our city, it continues to be an urgent issue. There is, for example, still a slight increase in the number of children growing up in poverty in this city. That’s why we must continue to invest in ways to combat poverty, but also in debt assistance. The stress and worries caused by debt hamper some of our fellow citizens in planning their futures. For this reason, we will continue to ensure that applying for debt assistance is a fast and accessible process, and that both the government as well as corporations do not collect debts from people who are already struggling to get by. In addition, The Hague PvdA will continue to buy up problematic debts, so that people in these troubled situations can enjoy a fresh start. Also, we support those that have lost their home due to circumstances beyond their control. Our vision: in The Hague, the city of justice and peace, no one should have to sleep on the streets! We strive for accessibility to homeless shelters, adequate support to help homeless citizens lead an independent life and find a house, and enough social housing. Only through these measures can we make sure that homelessness does not increase any further in our city.

Cultural activities for everyone

Culture brings people together, stimulates them and makes them happy. Cultural activities are an excellent tool for discovering one’s own identity, and for encountering people of different backgrounds. Even though arts and culture itself do not provide ready-made answers to issues, they do challenge, provoke thought, offer comfort and often makes for a good laugh. Cultural activity does not simply serve to confirm our own world view, but encourages us to view the world from a diverse range of perspectives. The Hague offers a wide range of high-quality culture, from jazz to dance, museums, film and performing arts, for a broad and diverse audience, but also artistic niches, mainstream and underground. From up and coming artists to (inter)nationally renowned institutions such as the Mauritshuis, the NDT (Nederlands Dans Theater), the National Theatre, The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra, Korzo and the Filmhuis. Beautiful aspects of our city to be proud of, of course. Unfortunately, access to these cultural facilities differs greatly amongst citizens of The Hague. The Hague PvdA strives to offer culture that is accessible to everyone in this city, through facilitating more diverse options in our city’s cultural activities, but also through introducing children to cultural activities at a young age and by ensuring cultural activities stay affordable.

Our measures:

  • We combat ethnic profiling through the use of, for example, bodycams and stop forms but also a more diverse police force, representing our city’s diversity in cultural background, sexual orientation and gender. 
  • We continue using anonymity in job applications at the municipality. This has proven to be a successful method for eliminating (subconscious) prejudices in hiring processes. 
  • Concerning future hiring in top- and middle management positions at the municipality, a minimum of forty percent non-Dutch citizen should be introduced. In addition, concerning future hiring in highly paid positions at the municipality a minimum of forty percent women should be introduced. 
  • The municipality will start using gender-neutral terms in its communication. 
  • All children, two years old and up, will spend at least four parts of any given days of the week at kindergarten, day care or pre-schooling, allowing them to start elementary school from a more equal point. .
  • We will set up a municipal institute offering support to all children in The Hague struggling with their homework, including a voluntary parental financial contribution which will be determined based on the height of parents’ income.  
  • We will organise language courses which people can easily follow in their own neighborhoods. Also, language courses will be cheaper and more focused. 
  • The “Ooievaarspas” will stay free. Also, a system will be added where the higher the income of the user, the lower the discount that is given with the card becomes.
  • We will combat poverty, with special regard to children, even more vigorously than we have done so far, with more expansive child care packages.  
  • We aim to prevent debts more often, and offer intensive support to people in debt to enable them to become debt-free.  
  • The special homeless shelter in winter will be open permanently from December to April. 
  • The Hague offers basic provisions for asylum seekers that have exhausted their application, which amounts to what is referred to as “bed-bad-brood” (sleeping, bathing and eating is facilitated by the government). This will include accompaniment.  
  • We will not cut down on libraries, and instead will increase the budget for libraries in areas in which they are frequently used. 
  • We will make sure that cultural activities represent The Hague’s diversity even more than it currently does. 

A good job for everyone

A job means much more than a salary it’s also a reason to get up and get out of the house, a place to have social interactions with your colleagues, and a way to contribute to society. We are proud that our jobs plan facilitated 10.000 new jobs in The Hague. However, many people in our city are still unable to find proper work, or depend on underpaid jobs that offer no sense of security. Even though encouraging large businesses and international organisations to come to The Hague helps academics find jobs, this does not work in the same way for people with a more practical educational background.

So, it is important to keep investing in our local economy, small businesses and jobs in the public sector such as health care, education and green maintenance. As a city, we have many lucrative opportunities for bringing sustainable entrepreneurs to The Hague and making sure they stay here. This will facilitate, for example, employment for professionals that can install solar panels or that know how to properly insulate houses. The municipality must offer adequate support for such entrepreneurs through a good helpdesk, funds and subsidies.

For people with disabilities that are unable to find a job, the municipality will create valuable jobs such as janitors in schools or supervisors of sporting events for children. Because a disability should never lead to exclusion. Unemployed people above the age of 55 and other groups of people eager to work, but unable to find a job, will not be obligated to write dozens of job application letters. That time is much better spent doing charity work or following educational courses. We will experiment with possibilities to earn extra money without suffering cuts to your benefit.

The municipality itself is one of the largest employers in the city. That’s why it should set the right example, which also goes for any businesses and organisations the municipality works with. This means permanent contracts with good conditions of employment, and adequately paid internships.
The gap between the income of people in the workplace and that of directors is becoming wider and wider. That’s why the municipality will not work with organisations and businesses where managers and directors earn wages higher than those earned by Ministers of National Parliament.

Our measures:

  • We will invest in jobs in the public sector: in health care, in education, in housing and sustainability. Through this measure, 10.000 people will be able to enjoy a good job. 
  • We will facilitate 2.000 extra jobs for people having trouble finding a job, on top of the 1.000 jobs we have already facilitated. The people we have been able to help find a job, now do very useful work for organisations that currently are unable to finance it themselves, such as extra maintenance support in schools, health care organisations and sporting facilities. 
  • We will support to entrepreneurs that offer jobs to people with a practical education, and stimulate small and medium-sized enterprises. 
  • Procurements, loans and subsidies from the municipality will only be granted to businesses and organisations that use good working conditions. 
  • The municipality itself sets the right example: we will offer more permanent contracts and offer compensation for internships. 
  • Incapacitated people that are unable to find consistent work, will continue to be offered jobs in a protected environment. 

Good and Affordable Healthcare for Everyone

When you’re in need of health care, you want it to be well taken care of in a timely manner. That means local health care, in neighbourhoods, offered by local people. We are proud that endless application forms are now a thing of the past, and that we have done away with people having to contribute their own money to basic and general support systems. Still, health care that falls under the municipality’s responsibility does not function as it could and should.

That’s why applying for health care at the municipality will be easier and faster. We will end market forces in health care. We will choose the best health care providers, instead of dozens of health care providers working as each other’s competitors. Health care employees will receive permanent contracts with good working conditions, so that they have adequate time for proper care, attention and a cup of coffee.

The health inequalities between different neighbourhoods of The Hague are enormous. Often, health inequalities are closely related to hard physical work, badly maintained houses and money problems. The Hague PvdA will makes these large differences between neighbourhoods smaller, because the right to a healthy life is a right for everyone. That’s why together with community workers and local nurses, who know the neighbourhood well, we will combat health inequality by organising activities with and for people in their neighbourhood and keeping an eye out for loneliness.

Children and young people in The Hague should be able to grow up in a safe and healthy environment where they can reach their maximum potential. At youth organisations such as “Jeugdhulp” everything is focused on what is best for the child in question. The best way to help children in need is through using only one aid worker per family, and making sure organisations that offer support work together closely. Reaching the age of 18 does not always automatically mean you are an adult. That’s why we will reserve funds to enable youth organisations to support young people after the age of 18, where necessary.

Sports are healthy, sports lead to brotherhood and sports clubs are the heart of our city. Yet, there are still large differences between neighbourhoods of The Hague when it comes to the availability of sports, or playing outside for children. That’s why we will invest in sports clubs, fields for sports and playgrounds, especially in neighbourhoods where there is only a very limited offer of such options.

Our measures:

  • We will end market forces in health care, through choosing the best health care provider per neighbourhood. 
  • The Hague will have affordable health care for everyone. 
  • Through working together with health care providers, and strictly managing the health care facilitation of The Hague, we will greatly diminish the health inequalities between neighbourhoods in the city. 
  • The community worker will make its comeback: people that know the neighbourhood well and keep an eye out for troubled people. In addition, we will expand the number of local nurses so they can provide adequate care, without a stopwatch. 
  • Home care givers and volunteers will enjoy better support from professional health care providers. 
  • We will get rid of the endless waiting lists at youth organisations such as “Jeugdhulp”. 
  • We will make sure that health care, such as support when you’re homeless, for young people can be continued after the age of 18. 

A safe and clean city for everyone

The Hague is growing fast, that’s why it is important to invest right now in a clean, green and sustainable city. For the present generations in our city, but also the future generations to come. People should continue to be able to travel from point A to point B in a fast and safe manner, that’s why sidewalks, lanes for bikes and public transportation is our first and foremost focus regarding traffic issues. Cars take up a lot of space and are the main reason for The Hague still having the most polluted streets in the entire The Netherlands. It stands to reason that you should only be able to park one car at an affordable rate near your own house, and that we will take care of busy and polluted streets by remodelling and renovating them. In addition, the municipality should equip its own buildings with solar panels, buy sustainable products and services, and encourage entrepreneurs to make sustainable decisions.

You should be able to live pleasantly everywhere in The Hague, which starts in your own street. That’s why we will make neighbourhoods greener and integrate more water, so that the city does not become insufferably warm during hot summer days. Every neighbourhood will have underground garbage containers, and a regular day for larger garbage to be picked up to avoid people having to place it in their street. Also, we will set up permanent places in each neighbourhood where people can separate their waste.

The fact that the criminality statistics are dropping is great news, yet many people still don’t feel safe in their own neighbourhood. In addition, the differences in  safety are enormous between neighbourhoods. This demands a solution. We will employ more youth community workers that will work together with neighbourhood police and inhabitants of the neighbourhood to combat young people causing trouble. The police will be able to better do their job through a more diverse police force, more representative of The Hague’s diversity. We will support the police in becoming a more diverse police force, just as we will combat ethnic profiling. Because in this city, equal treatment should be a priority in every case.

You should also be able to feel safe behind your own front door. Victims of domestic and/or sexual abuse should be helped quickly and, when necessary, find another place to stay. Many of our older citizens feel unsafe in and around their own home: that’s why we will invest in better prevention of burglaries through safer locks, providing more information about scam artists, and facilitating better lighting in streets and doorways.

Our measures:

  • We will make subsidies more accessible to renters and people with low and middle incomes so that everyone can help and profit from making The Hague sustainable. 
  • All new construction in The Hague will be “circular” and climate-neutral.
  • We will equip houses for sustainable living, independent of natural gas
  • By 2022 all of the municipality’s buildings will have solar panels and by 2026 they will all be Paris proof. 
  • Every street must be well-maintained: we will work to decrease waste in the streets and offer more options to separate waste in neighbourhoods. 
  • The neighbourhood approach, through which the municipality combats all problems in different vulnerable neighbourhoods at once, will be continued. 
  • By 2030, the police force should be representative of the city. The Hague will measure the trust that citizens have in the police force, in each neighbourhood. Where that trust is low, we will make sure to win it back. 

About The Hague Labour Party, PvdA

The Hague Labour Party, PvdA, is the representation of the Dutch Labour Party, PvdA, in the city council of The Hague. The PvdA is a social-democratic political party and a member of the Party of European Socialists and the global Progressive Alliance. In the European Parliament, the Labour Party is part of the parliamentary group Socialists & Democrats.

Comparable political parties abroad:

Germany: SPD
Italy: Partito Democratico
UK: Labour
New Zealand: Labour
USA: Democrats
France: Parti socialiste
Belgium: sp.a / Parti Socialiste
Norway: Arbeiderparti
Spain: PSOE
Australia: Labor
Canada: NDP