Boereboom will be presented with the words from the interrogations of former top officials of Finance on Thursday. They said on Wednesday that Social Affairs is opposed to a solution for the hard recovery of the childcare allowance.
Follow the interrogation live via Leon Brandsema’s tweets at the bottom of this article.
This approach ensured that people who made a small mistake with a small amount could just lose an entire year in benefits. According to the officials of Finance, who themselves with a tough fraud approach also made a big contribution to the pocket of the benefits, they also had ‘stomach ache’ from that hard recovery. But attempts to amend the law, they say, went wrong with colleagues from Social Affairs.
Boereboom admits on Thursday that this ‘all-or-nothing approach’ resulted from the rules made at his ministry. And that a solution from Finance did indeed fail at Social Affairs. In fact, a proposal from the Ministry of Finance to solve the problem ended up at the top of the civil service and never reached the then Minister Lodewijk Asscher. “That is not normal”, Boereboom admitted.
Marcelis Boereboom, former director general at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, during the fourth day of the hearings of the temporary committee that investigates problems surrounding the fraud approach in childcare allowance.
The Ministry of Social Affairs appears to have mainly worked on its own solution to the problem: direct financing of childcare so that the allowance can disappear completely. “If you do have to go through an entire legislative process, it is better to use it to get rid of the childcare allowance,” Boereboom advises Asscher. He agrees.
But the plan doesn’t get off the ground at all, so the hard recovery will continue for years to come. “If you ask me, maybe I should have made a different assessment,” says Boereboom. “Perhaps we should also have come up with emergency legislation for the sharp edges in the childcare allowance.”
According to Boereboom, the focus on fraud approach from the Rutte II cabinet also played a role in the benefits affair at the time. And the official, in turn, puts the ball for how fast that fraud approach went completely to the Ministry of Finance. “The method used by the Tax Authorities was entirely up to the Tax Authorities,” says Boereboom.
In retrospect, he finds this approach far too harsh: “If I now see how that has gone off the rails, I come to the conclusion for myself that as a client you have to be closer to the implementation.”
The Finance officials also pointed out on Wednesday that a lot of pressure was placed on the fraud approach from Social Affairs. Partly because a certain amount was entered in the budget of Social Affairs in reclaimed benefits. “I never put pressure on that,” Boereboom denies having pressed it himself. “But in a general sense it is true that the approach to fraud was considered very important. So that topic will have been discussed in consultation. ”