Cabinet will release meeting minutes concerning the controversial childcare subsidy scandal
The outgoing cabinet will release the minutes of the councils of ministers in which the childcare allowance affair was discussed. The House of Representatives asked for this after RTL Nieuws revealed that during such cabinet meetings, it had been decided to deliberately oppose the House of Representatives concerning the allowance scandal.
The minutes will be published on Monday, outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Friday. These are the documents that were also sent to the Van Dam Committee, which investigated the affair.
It is a decision that the entire cabinet supports, according to Rutte. Minutes of the Council of Ministers are secret and are only made public after twenty years. "It's quite an exceptional thing to do," said the prime minister.
Openness and transparency have become important themes in The Hague since the cabinet stepped down due to the damaging report on the childcare allowance scandal. For years, innocent citizens were labeled by the tax authorities as fraudsters, resulting in major financial and emotional damage.
News can have major consequences
The House of Representatives asked for it to be made public after RTL News revealed on Wednesday that the cabinet would have deliberately not sent important information to the House. That news hit like a bomb, because it could have major political consequences.
Not only for Prime Minister and VVD leader Rutte, but also for CDA member Wopke Hoekstra and D66 leader Sigrid Kaag.
One of the most important conclusions is that during the Council of Ministers of 15 November 2019, the government decided not to provide the House with complete information about who knew what and when about the unlawful actions of the Tax and Customs Administration in the benefits affair. The entire House had explicitly asked for such a statement of facts.
It is not known whether the minutes of this Council of Ministers will also be published on Monday.
It was written about Hoekstra that he tried to calm down ("sensitize") his party member and number two on the CDA candidate list Pieter Omtzigt, because he continued to ask critical questions to the cabinet.
Hoekstra called making the minutes public on Twitter "a very far-reaching step." "Still, I think that the minutes relevant to the benefits affair should be made public," said the CDA leader.
The Van Dam Committee also had access to the minutes
The people who know what was said during the councils of ministers that dealt with the benefits affair are the ministers present from the coalition parties VVD, CDA, D66, and ChristenUnie.
In this case, these were also the members of the Van Dam Committee, who had access because of their investigation into the benefits affair.