The hardness of the fraud approach in childcare allowances is due to the attitude of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. This was argued by former Director General Peter Veld of the Tax Administration in his interview by the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee on Child Care.
The Tax Administration and the then responsible Secretary of State Frans Weekers of Finance wanted to get rid of the so-called all-or-nothing approach, says Veld, who was the boss of the tax authorities between 2010 and 2015.
In 2012, a discussion arose about a case involving a host parent agency in which parents had not paid or not fully paid the required own contribution. According to the rules, they still had to pay their own contribution and refund all the additional costs received.
Hospitals, which were often the culprit, could not be held liable. This could lead to the fact that parents had to pay tens of thousands of euros. “One or two annual salaries”, in the words of Veld.
No legal doubts
The former supreme boss of the Tax Administration says that he called it “undesirable” and that he proposed to claim only his own contribution, plus possibly a fine. The Supplements Act provides little room for performers. Veld said that he had no doubt that the approach was legally correct, but that he did doubt whether it was too hard on the parents.
Secretary of State Weekers shared those doubts, says Veld. “He wrote yes in the margins of my note on that.” But when they went to Social Affairs, the department responsible for the payment policy, it was said there, according to Veld, “This is a conscious policy, thats how it was meant to be.”
The former Director-General (DG) points out that this went to the highest level, even when recovery had to be started later. According to him, the then Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher knew about this. “You can assume in traffic between Directors-General that a DG is speaking on behalf of the Minister or State Secretary.”
The current Pvda leader Asscher will appear before the parliamentary committee of inquiry next week. Tomorrow (former) senior officials of the Ministry will be discussed.
The fact that the blame lies entirely with Social Affairs did not go well with MEP Belhaj (D66). “You were the top boss, didnt you have a lot of influence?” On which Veld argued that it would have been different if he had been listened to. “I have experienced obstinacy.”
He told me about a second attempt to convince SZW that not everything should be repaid. According to Veld, the thought was longer, but the answer was no again.
The interrogation under oath did not go without harassment. “Have you prepared this?”, Belhaj wondered when Veld said he didnt remember a letter of Chamber. She also denounted the saying I think of Veld, which he often used. “Im not asking, Im asking you what you know. Can you be more accurate in the answer?”
In two weeks, the Chamber examines how things could have gone wrong in the childcare supplement affair. What was intended to provide financial support for families with young children became a long-lasting affair for thousands of people. The parents were wrongly classified as a fraudster by the Tax Administration and sometimes had to repay tens of thousands of euros. With financial and social problems as a result.
Later today, Gerard Blankestijn, director of Toeslagen 2011-2018 and his successor Agaath Cleyndert will be discussed. The interrogations can be followed live here.