Dutch government wipes out debt for parents in fraud scandal

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – The Dutch government on Monday said it is wiping out debts owed to the tax office and other government departments by parents caught up in a fraud scandal that caused the Cabinet to resign last week.

State Secretary for Finance Alexandra van Huffelen said the decision means that the thousands of parents who were wrongly accused of fraud by the tax office will get all of the 30,000 euro ( $36,300) payment promised to each of them last week.

“I believe that parents deserve a completely clean slate so they can use the compensation to really make a new start,” Van Huffelen said in a statement.

The government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte quit Friday over a scathing parliamentary report titled “Unprecedented Injustice,” that said tax office policies aimed at rooting out fraud with benefit payments to parents with children in day care violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.”

Thousands of parents were affected over several years and many were plunged into debt.

Van Huffelen said she is in talks with private organizations such as banks and housing organizations about them also clearing debts of parents affected.

Although Rutte’s government has resigned, it remains in power in a caretaker capacity until a new ruling coalition is formed after a general election scheduled for March 17.

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