Rutte ‘leaves tear’ when apologizing for acting in a childcare allowance | NOW

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has apologized on Monday for an emotional meeting for the actions of the Tax Authorities in the childcare allowance affair.

“Where the rule of law had to protect the citizen against the omnipotence of the state, here really things went very wrong in cases,” Rutte said after a meeting with two hundred victims.

“With what this has done to the personal lives of these people, no normal person would keep it dry,” said the prime minister who, according to some stories, said he should have shed a tear.

Rutte said that in his premiership two major topics have come up that have made an extra impact, the attack on MH17 and the earthquakes in Groningen. “This is starting to come close.”

“Trust in the government has been severely damaged. This meeting is not going to restore that,” the prime minister said. “I may not restore that confidence in me in a meeting either. That is not the goal, the goal is to start listening and show how we are trying to help the matter from here.”

Still no clarity for many parents

Through the recently resigned State Secretary of Finance Menno Snel, the Cabinet has on several occasions apologized for the unlawful approach of the Tax Authorities in the childcare allowance affair.

The tax authorities unjustly stopped the childcare allowance to which parents were entitled in most cases and claimed back for tens of thousands of euros, while there was no evidence of fraud.

The debacle cost Snel the headline last month. At the same time, after the resignation of the State Secretary and the apologies of Prime Minister Rutte, there is still no insight into clarity for a large part of the parents.

Parents still have many questions, few answers

Although on Monday the parents appreciated the recognition that they had been wrongly labeled as fraudsters by the tax authorities, several parents remained in uncertainty.

“In particular, there were many questions and few answers,” says 33-year-old Debby about the meeting. Due to personal circumstances, she would rather not have her surname on the site. She is struggling with a debt of more than 48,000 euros that she must pay back.

Yet she is happy that she went to the meeting. “I am especially happy that I have been able to talk to other parents who have been affected. To share experiences and to hear that you are not crazy.”

Naciye Polat, mother of three, experienced the conversation with Rutte as “pleasant”. “It’s nice to finally be heard,” she says. But she has lost faith in the government. Polat was faced with a debt of 80,000 euros.

“I have lost my businesses, my health has started to suffer, I have been rejected. I have tried to kill myself twice.”

A large part of parents received compensation

A large proportion of the parents who are certain to have been duped have received compensation. But the group may be much larger. The government must take into account thousands of parents who have fallen victim to the actions of the Tax Authorities.

Rutte could not provide clarity to the parents who are still in uncertainty. For this group, they must await the advice of the Donner Committee. This must show how large the group of approximately 9,000 parents from the so-called CAF cases is that are eligible for compensation.

Chamber debates Tuesday on issue

Prime Minister Rutte expects that it will certainly take another year – and probably longer – before the problems of all the victims are resolved.

The government has announced a reorganization of the Tax Authorities with not one, but two new state secretaries. The new minister who will be responsible for the allowances may start immediately with a proposal to change the allowance system. However, that plan will only be discussed at the next cabinet formation.

The House of Representatives will debate the reorganization plans on Tuesday.


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