Voorburgs Dagblad | ‘Increase in food bank users, unemployment and debt’

During the round table discussion in the Voorburgs Dagblad, the following topics were discussed: debt trends in Leidschendam-Voorburg, the situation around private individuals, unemployment and the social role of debt collection agencies. Led by journalist Bart Bakker, councilors Philip van Veller, Astrid van Eekelen and debt expert Robin van der Zwan discussed this in more detail.

Can any trends be observed?

Robin van der Zwan: “Despite the fact that there is a negative atmosphere in the collection world, we quickly sense certain trends when people can no longer pay their bills. Our office therefore handles debt collection in a friendly and professional manner. As a board member of MKB Leidschendam-Voorburg, I want to give a helping hand in my profession when people get into financial problems. We note that payment arrangements are being fulfilled less quickly at this time and that there will be an increase in the number of bankruptcies”.

People have less and less to spend. Entrepreneurs are also at risk of not making it.

“From MKB Leidschendam-Voorburg, we try to be present on the various networks. Then you hear that there is fear. This affects payment behavior and investments. With our business debtors, we notice from the debt collection department that the number of payments is falling. I think for example on the reserve for national taxes due from this month. This is a big problem. Add to that the rising energy costs, and many residents and entrepreneurs will enter the alarm phase. There is a snowball effect. As a result, companies have to write off receivables. This will seriously affect SMEs. It’s time to ring the bell.”

Astrid van Eekelen: “I recently walked through the Herenstraat with the chairman of Ondernemersfonds (Edwin Marijs, ed.). He pointed out that there are signals from entrepreneurs who are having a hard time, especially because the tax has to be refunded”.

What is the situation with private individuals in Leidschendam-Voorburg?

Philip van Veller: “Fear is quite high at the moment. Many people wonder if they will still be able to pay their bills in the near future. There are concerns about the energy bill. You see more and more people who already have difficulty signing up for the food bank. Recently I met the board and volunteers there. In Leidschendam-Voorburg, we are now going to the two hundred households that are connected to the food bank. Over the past few months, about fifteen households have joined each month.”

A huge increase in the food bank.

Unemployment is also increasing in Leidschendam-Voorburg?

Astrid van Eekelen: “That is indeed true. More are applying for unemployment benefits.

Robin van der Zwan: “Keeping bankruptcies artificially low creates a shortage in the labor market. I am surprised. Because companies cease to exist, will there again be more staff available in Leidschendam-Voorburg?”.

Astrid van Eekelen: “However, we still see few bankruptcies and vacancies when it comes to shopping areas. When people close their doors, it is often due to a lack of staff. I worry about this and wonder why this is. Where did all those people go to work?”

Debt collection agencies such as Trust and Law fulfill their social role by preventing entrepreneurs from going bankrupt?

Robin van der Zwan: “Together with the entrepreneurs, we can see if we can avoid bankruptcy. Entrepreneurs also go against a municipality that is not for sale with their debt burden. I also think that Leidschendam-Voorburg municipality is in control of matters with various partners and counters when it comes to giving a helping hand. But it is also important to draw attention to it through the media.”

Robin van der Zwan: “This applies to several parties that are active in the municipality. From a sustainability perspective, some scanning comes from Rabobank. It is a good initiative. Our office can do it on the basis of debt. We do a (free) scan to identify whether entrepreneurs can still be saved, engage in dialogue with creditors and then create an action plan”.

Philip van Veller: “Come to the municipality before it’s too late. However, many residents are not used to this. People can also go to, for example, https://sociaalservicepunt.nl/ to discuss their financial problems. It is about finding the way, but also about overcoming shame and fear of institutions or the government. It is also a challenge for us.”

(The last three are made by Ap de Heus)

By: Bart Bakker | Photo: Pixabay

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