‘Duplicate payment affair has been denied legal aid for many years’

Dupted parents in the payment affair were denied a subsidy for legal aid for many years, reports the Vereniging Sociale Advocatuur Nederland (VSAN) after a tour of its members. The Christian Union and the SP want clarification from the Cabinet on refusing to grant legal aid for victims of the payment affair.

According to VSAN President Reinier Feiner, victims had โ€œno chanceโ€ to defend themselves against the government. As a result, the extent of the affair was not recognized and it was โ€œable to simmer for far too longโ€, he says to DeccEit after reporting from RTL Nieuws.

For legal conflicts with the Tax Administration, the subsidised lawyers were not remunerated because it was assumed that people could deal with their problems with the tax authorities themselves. The costs of a lawyer were therefore at their own expense. Those who had no money for that were alone in the legal struggle.

The only time a subsidy was granted, it was recovered, says Feiner. โ€œThe objection to this was rejected by the Council of State, because it did not consider it unreasonable that a citizen should be self-reliant in cases against the government.โ€

Christian Union member Stieneke van der Graaf calls the issue incomprehensible. โ€œCases against the Tax Administration are complicated by definition.โ€ She‘s asking the Cabinet to figure out how this could have happened.

MP Michiel van Nispen of the SP calls it a โ€œgross scandalโ€ that the government kept lawyers away from people who were being duped by the same government. โ€œThat is a form of abuse of power and sabotage of the legal aid of people who needed it so badly.โ€

The VSAN calls for investment in social law, in order to avoid future issues such as childcare allowances. This will have to destroy cuts in the sector in recent years.

Offset

At the end of December, Secretary of State Van Huffelen announced that all parents affected from the payment affair receive EUR 30,000 compensation, paid within four months. Today she assured the House of Representatives that the payment will be made before 1 May.

In the Chamber this afternoon there was concern about whether the Tax Administration could handle the major recovery operation. According to CDA member of parliament Pieter Omtzigt, less than a thousand parents have actually received a concession. There are also concerns about the staff of the service: according to SGP MP Chris Stoffer, officials feel abandoned by the official top.

In

mid-January, the Rutte III cabinet resigned because of the destructive conclusions about the tax administrations payment affair.