FILE PHOTO: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy speaks after a televised debate moderated by journalist Jeroen Pauw, on the eve of European elections in Amsterdam, Netherlands, May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the resignation of his government on Friday, accepting responsibility for years of mismanagement of childcare subsidies, which wrongfully drove thousands of families to financial ruin.
Rutte said he had handed his resignation to King Willem-Alexander. The cabinet would remain in place in a caretaker capacity to manage the coronavirus crisis for now, with an election already due on March 17.
The resignation follows a parliamentary inquiry last month that found bureaucrats at the tax service had wrongly accused families of fraud.
The inquiry report said around 10,000 families had been forced to repay tens of thousands of euros of subsidies, in some cases leading to unemployment, bankruptcies and divorces, in what it called an “unprecedented injustice”.
Additional reporting by Bart Meijer and Toby Sterling; Writing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Peter Graff