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Thursday January 27, 2022

Dutch govt quits over child benefits scandal

By AFP
January 16, 2021

THE HAGUE: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government resigned on Friday over a child benefits scandal, threatening political instability as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of parents were wrongly accused by Dutch authorities of fraudulently claiming child allowance, with many of them forced to pay back large amounts of money and ending up in financial ruin.

The fact that some parents were targeted for investigation by tax officials because they had dual nationality also underscored long-standing criticisms of systemic racism in the Netherlands. Rutte -- one of Europe’s longest-serving leaders, having been in power since 2010 -- said the cabinet would stay on in a caretaker role to oversee the response to Covid-19 until elections in mid-March. Prime minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet is to stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new coalition is formed after that vote.

"We are of one mind: if the whole system has failed, only joint responsibility can be borne. And that leads to the conclusion that I have just now offered the king the resignation of the entire cabinet."

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