The Netherlands’ PM Rutte Resigns with Cabinet over Child Benefits Scandal

Earlier today, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte presented his resignation to King Willem-Alexander van Oranje, along with that of his entire cabinet. This came after a report exposed his government’s failure to defend over 20,000 families from overeager tax inspectors.

The tax office in the Netherlands had accused thousands of families of fraud when claiming child welfare installments from the period of 2013 to 2019. Hence, it requested tens of thousands of euros to be repaid by several families, some of which were driven into bankruptcy and, in a few cases, even divorce. Furthermore, another investigation found that tax inspectors were found to have discriminated against dual-nationality citizens.

This news comes less than a month before the Dutch Parliament was scheduled to disband in line with the procedure for the general election, which is going to take place on 17th March 2021. Until then however, Rutte and his cabinet will stay on as a caretaker government until a new coalition is confirmed.

In a press conference, Rutte admitted “The government was not up to standard throughout this whole affair” and that “Mistakes were made at every level of the state, with the result that terrible injustice was done to thousands of parents.”

The Dutch leader of the Green party Jesse Klaver welcomed the cabinet’s decision, which he believed was the right one for the Netherlands. “Let this be a new beginning. A turning point. The moment when we rebuild our welfare state.” he wrote on Twitter.

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