Ghent and Antwerp receive a significant amount of municipal subsidies, accounting for a third of the 5.1 billion euros that were distributed to local authorities in 2022. This information was obtained from an analysis conducted by the newspaper De Tijd, utilizing data from Flemish MP Brecht Warnez (CD&V). The subsidies that flow to these two major cities are equivalent to those received by 244 often rural municipalities, despite the fact that these smaller areas have four times more inhabitants than Antwerp and Ghent. The subsidies come from various sources including the Municipal Fund, additional grants, and project subsidies.
Per inhabitant, Antwerp and Ghent each receive slightly more than 2,000 euros in subsidies from Flanders, nearly three times the Flemish average of 763 euros. Other provincial capitals such as Hasselt, Leuven, and Bruges receive between 900 to 1,000 euros per inhabitant. On the other hand, the 244 smaller municipalities receive between 230 and 640 euros per inhabitant. Some of these municipalities receive less Flemish money due to their affluent residents and a stronger tax base.
According to Flemish MP Brecht Warnez, this distribution of subsidies is imbalanced, with smaller cities and rural municipalities being seriously underfunded. He argues that the countryside deserves more money and more respect. However, Antwerp and Ghent defend the allocation of subsidies, stating that they face greater challenges such as poverty, the care of homeless people