Prior to Friday’s Council of Ministers, the ministers did not want to anticipate a possible fall of the cabinet due to the benefits affair. After weeks of consultation, the cabinet will decide on Friday what the political consequences should be for the duping of thousands of parents.
According to Sigrid Kaag, Minister of Foreign Trade, the cabinet must “make a break with what has happened and credibly restore confidence in the government”.
Although Kaag thinks compensation for parents is “naturally” important, she thinks it is not enough. There must be a “moral answer”. “Politicians must consult themselves.”
Her party (D66) is “out” about what needs to be done, but she did not let go of that position.
‘People haven’t had a chance’
The ChristenUnie has also drawn its conclusion, says Deputy Prime Minister Carola Schouten. “People haven’t had a chance and were unable to enforce their rights on many fronts, we have to talk about that today and determine what this means politically.”
According to Minister Tamara van Ark (Medical Care), restoring confidence in the government will take time. “Trust comes on foot and goes on horseback, so it won’t be restored right away.”
The government’s promise to take care of people has been broken and it cannot stay broken, she says.
Van Ark understands that people may wonder why a cabinet will step down during the biggest crisis since the Second World War. “Every question is on the table, but we are starting today primarily with this issue: repairing the unprecedented injustice done to parents.”
Thousands of parents wrongly seen as fraudsters
Minister Hugo de Jonge (Health) said before the Council of Ministers that the cabinet will remain “missionary in quotation marks” with regard to the fight against the corona crisis, should the cabinet fall on Friday. “People can expect us to do everything we can to tackle the crisis.”
The cabinet is under considerable pressure because of the benefits affair. In addition, thousands of parents were wrongly seen by the government as fraudsters, which led to financial problems. The benefits affair also caused divorces and people had to leave their homes.
In the approach to fraud, the Tax and Customs Administration was guilty of ethnic profiling by stricter checks on parents with dual nationality.