Ghent and Antwerp will lose significantly from a fairer distribution of billions from the Municipal Fund | Domestic

Ghent and Antwerp will lose significantly from a fairer distribution of billions from the Municipal Fund | Domestic
Ghent and Antwerp will lose significantly from a fairer distribution of billions from the Municipal Fund | Domestic
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To fairly distribute the 3 billion euros that flows annually from the Municipal Fund to cities and municipalities, Ghent and Antwerp would have to make a significant sacrifice. This is evident from a long-awaited study by researchers affiliated with three Flemish universities, the results of which can be read in De Tijd and De Standaard.

It is a recurring complaint from not all mayors: the Flemish Municipal Fund is unfairly distributed among the municipalities. A resident of Ghent receives twice as much Flemish support as a resident of Bruges; an Antwerp resident receives more than four times as much as a Vilvoorde resident. Overijse even receives only a tenth of Ghent per inhabitant.

There is a chance that a reform of the Municipal Fund will be the subject of negotiations for the next Flemish government. To objectify the debate, Minister of Internal Affairs Gwendolyn Rutten (Open VLD) had a study carried out into the effects of a possible reform by the Administrative Innovation Support Center (UGent and KU Leuven).

27 simulations

The Municipal Fund is a crucial financing stream from the Flemish Region to the municipalities: approximately one fifth of a municipality’s income comes from it. In 2023 this amounted to 3.1 billion euros. Big cities have different needs than small villages. It was therefore determined that 41 percent of the fund is reserved for the 45 larger cities and coastal municipalities, which received an extra boost due to the costs of tourism. Thanks to this system of advances, Antwerp and Ghent together receive almost a third of the total fund.

The researchers looked at the effects of 27 simulations. For example, the system with advance payments can be replaced by basic financing. A distinction can then be made based on the functions that a municipality must fulfill (the degree of equipment). In almost all scenarios, the major cities face a decline in the allocation per inhabitant. Regional cities are also often hit hard. For the majority of the simulations, rural municipalities and the “regional urban city edge” (such as Vilvoorde) are improving.

If the entire reform has to remain budget neutral, Antwerp, Ghent and co. have to give up for the benefit of the little ones.

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Ghent Antwerp lose significantly fairer distribution billions Municipal Fund Domestic

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