‘Innocent people were hurt’: Dutch government resigns over childcare subsidies mismanagement scandal

‘Innocent people were hurt’: Dutch government resigns over childcare subsidies mismanagement scandal

The Dutch government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte collectively resigned on Friday, following a report that blamed the cabinet for the mismanagement of childcare subsidies.

Rutte said he has offered the resignation letter to the country’s reigning monarch, King Willem-Alexander. The ministers will stay on as part of the caretaker government until a new coalition is formed.

Authorities were hit by controversy when thousands of people were erroneously accused of having committed fraud, and were forced to pay back state childcare subsidies.

“Innocent people have been hurt, their lives have been destroyed, and parliament has been inadequately and incompletely informed about this,” Rutte said at a press conference.

Rutte said that “a whole new system of childcare subsidies must be introduced.”

In December, a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the affair concluded that a large number of parents had been subjected to “unprecedented injustice” during the government’s mishandled anti-fraud campaign.

Local media reported that suspicions first arose in 2014, when 230 families were thrown into serious financial trouble as they were suddenly cut off from childcare aid programs because of “indications of fraud.” Currently, around 1,800 families may be entitled to receive compensation from the tax services.

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FILE PHOTO: Healthcare workers are seen at the Expo Houten event complex in Houten, Netherlands, on January 5, 2021.
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