Management of childcare benefits scandal shows system needs radical change: Ombudsman
National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen called for a radical change to the system in the Trouw after the Tax authorities falsely accused thousands of parents of being fraudsters based on their ethnicity in the child benefits scandal. On Monday, Zutphen will release his report, 'Case closed, but no solution.'
"The situation is serious and demands for impactful decisions and regulations," Zutphen said.
Tax Authorities racially profiled and cut off benefits to around 5,700 parents, accusing them wrongly of fraud. The victims also had to repay the allowance they received. When a report on the case was released in late 2020, it brought the Rutte III Cabinet to collapse.
Van Zutphen was upset that the victims still have not received compensation from the government. "If I put myself in the position of the citizens who were told that there will be an integral test, but no prospect of when that will be, I find it unbelievable," Van Zutphen said.
Many of the parents became in debt due to the amount they had to repay to the Tax Authorities.
The Ombudsman voiced concerns that the institution responsible for issuing the compensation (UHT) can do so.
The slow compensation process draws attention again to the flaw in the system, according to Van Zutphen. "The system that caused this mess now needs to find a solution. That is not possible. It won't work," Van Zutphen said.
The Ombudsman wants the UHT to take the children more into consideration. "If these children are given a perspective again then, you already partially relieve the parents. Now everything is at a standstill for the whole family."
State Secretary of Finance Alexandra van Huffelen announced before the summer that change is around the corner, but there has been little evidence of that until now.
Van Zutphen said the solution is "not more legally complex regulations, but above all generous and energetic action is needed."