Finance State Sec. withheld info on childcare allowance debacle
State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance has known for some time that the number of victims whose childcare allowance was wrongfully halted is much larger than he told the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, RTL Nieuws and Trouw report based on confidential reports in their possession.
Snel knew about the documents and their content for a long time, but withheld them from the Tweede Kamer, which has been asking about it for around 18 months, according to the news agencies.
This affair revolves around the unlawful termination of hundreds of parents' childcare allowance. The parents were wrongfully labeled as fraudsters and were ordered to repay allowances, sometimes running up to tens of thousands of euros. The committee that investigated this affair concluded that the fraud approach derailed and that it caused much suffering. The National Ombudsman said that the Tax Authority put hundreds of families in an impossible situation. And the Children's Ombudsman accused the Tax Authority of ignoring children's rights.
The confidential reports now in Trouw and RTL's possession involve 2015 evaluations of the team responsible for detecting fraud - the team at the center of this affair. The evaluations confirm that the fight against fraud had derailed and also state that the number of parents who objected to the Tax Authority's decision to halt their childcare allowance was remarkably high - a sign that something may be wrong, according to the news agencies.
Snel previously told the Kamer that he had "no external signals" about any other cases going wrong as happened at a childminder agency in Eindhoven. 300 parents with kids at this childminder agency had their childcare allowance halted improperly. But according to RTL and Trouw, Snel knew about the above mentioned evaluations.
Coalition parties VVD and CDA and opposition parties PvdA and SP demand clarification from Snel before the end of this week. The State Secretary himself has not responded yet.
RTL and Trouw previously reported that top Tax officials knew about and allowed this witch hunt on childcare allowance fraudsters.