The Cabinet stepped in mid-January, apologies were made for the great injustice, and a major compensation operation would be launched to compensate for affected parents. But this recovery operation is not going well, the Chamber concludes in a fierce debate with the demissionary Secretary of State Van Huffelen.
Less than 1000 of the 29,000 parents who are entitled to a concession in the first round have actually received something according to the CDA member of parliament Omtzigt. “Parents are getting sicker and more insecure by the day,” said SP MP Leijten. PVV MP Mulder denounts the fact that “the total size of the group of parents is still not clear”. According to the Cabinet, 20,000 parents have now come in, but there can be many more.
SGP MP Stoffer also sees suffering from the Tax Administration itself: he receives signals that officials feel seriously abandoned by the top of the service.
SP MP Leijten no longer has confidence that the Tax Administration will complete the compensation process properly: she pleads for the service to leave the route. The government has acknowledged debt, says Leijten, but all the millions spent on accountancy, reports and everything else, have not helped parents at all. 50Plus also wonders if the service can handle the recovery project.
In the payment affair, thousands of parents were wrongly labeled as fraudsters. Their surcharges were stopped, they had to repay thousands of euros. Many parents had major financial and psychological problems. The case came to light through publications of Trouw and RTL Nieuws.
Parents who would report before 15 February – next Monday – should receive the first compensation before 1 May. But the question is whether that will be achieved. “These are promises I simply do not believe in,” said Pvda MP Kuijken. “There is no beginning of a timeline yet.” Earlier, the Cabinet promised to pay as soon as possible all parents who are known 30,000 euros. The Chamber passed a law to get that help started.
According to Secretary of State Van Huffelen, that timetable is there, but it is also of “great importance” that parents, together with their business manager, get “time and space” to put everything together. According to her, it‘s not just about speed, but also about care. That explanation came to her at an angry outburst of SP-MP Leijten. According to Leijten, the Chamber passed a law under pressure, but “is now staring at a swamp”. According to Leijten, “more money has gone to internal checks than to parents”. She thinks that “really can’t.”
Van Huffelen acknowledged that it has already been stated several times that we can “do things better in the organization” but said that people also work hard and that taking time is also important. “We assume that we will come a long way before 1 May,” says Van Huffelen.
According to the Chamber, if parents receive money, the question is whether they are really helped: there may be direct creditors on the doorstep. Politics agreed to cancel all public debts, but that does not apply to private creditors. VVD and D66 therefore propose that a year should be introduced a kind of pause regime whereby private creditors are not allowed to knock on the victims. But the question is whether that is legally possible. Van Huffelen said that she wants to look at what is possible together with private parties but spoke of a “huge challenge” because it concerns many parents and serious problems.
parties in the Chamber also call it outright annoying that the Tax Administration does not seem to have an overview of those who have been hit most severely. CDA member of the parliament Omtzigt, who, together with SP-MP Leijten, has been working for years to help parents and get pieces out of the table, is very concerned about this.
“ A family with a debt of 87 euros now receives in principle the same 30,000 euros as a family in debt with 60,000 euros.” It wonders how to deal with these differences and how it is possible to arrange for the most affected to receive the right help quickly. He also considers it incomprehensible that the promised list of unlawfulness is still not there. This has been asked several times by the Chamber, sighs Omtzigt. “It cannot be true that the list is not there again. Then what am I sitting here for? In this way, we continue to drive back and forth with a small train.”