Gov't scraps debts of victims in childcare allowance scandal
The Cabinet is scrapping all the government debts the victims of the childcare allowance scandal have, State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen of Finance announced on Monday evening. "I think parents deserve a completely clean slate, so that they can use the amount of compensation to really make a new start," Van Huffelen said, RTL Nieuws reports.
This involves all government debts to organizations like DUO and benefits agency UWV. The government is also n talks with private creditors, like energy companies and housing corporations, about scrapping victims' debts, Van Huffelen said.
All parents affected by the childcare allowance scandal - a fraud witch hunt by the Tax Authority that left thousands of Dutch families with severe financial problems and also resulted in the Rutte III Cabinet's collapse - will receive at least 30 thousand euros in compensation. But it was quickly pointed out that for many parents, a large part of that amount will just go towards paying their debts to the Tax Authority.
Affected parents are therefore happy with Van Huffelen's announcement, but still skeptical, a number of them said to RTL Nieuws.
"I am very happy with it, let me put that first," Natasja Dipai said to the broadcaster. But this does not cover the other debts she had to incur to keep her kids in childcare, nor the stroke she had last year. "The government announcement is a relief, but not the solution," she said. "I really want to be able to give my three daughters everything I couldn't give them because of this. I long for a clean slate and a starting amount with which I can rebuild my life."
"When I read it, I was baffled," Pearl Martins said about Van Huffelen's announcement. There was a lot of emotion, but "of course" also skepticism, she said. "We have been through so much and have completely lost trust. This cancellation [of debts] must be done quickly and not drag on for years."
The cabinet's announcement also raised questions, Martins added. "There are people who have paid off all their debts themselves. How will that be handled? We hope that those questions will be answered in the parliamentary debate on Tuesday."