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Budget deficit dropping faster than expected

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE - The Dutch government deficit came in lower than expected in 2010 at 5.2 percent of gross domestic product, but budget cuts will continue as planned. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the government plans to cut spending by a cumulative $24 billion by 2015, and expects to bring the deficit to below 3 percent in 2012, a year ahead of the European Commission's target date. Some of the government's spending cuts, particularly in education, have attracted public criticism in the run-up to the provincial elections. The budget deficit in 2010 was expected to reach 5.8 percent of GDP, according to December estimates from the government's policy analysis agency CPB, but came in lower, at 5.2 percent of GDP, because tax collection exceeded the target. The CPB expects a 4.1 percent deficit in 2011.