Junior finance minister resigns over tax office benefit chaos
Junior finance minister Frans Weekers has resigned after losing the support of the entire opposition over problems at the tax office in paying rent and healthcare benefits.
Weekers, a minister for the right-wing Liberal VVD, said shortly before midnight he would quit. ‘I do not have a sense of broad support in parliament,’ he said. He will formally tender his resignation to the king later on Thursday.
The small Christian parties ChristenUnie and SGP, which supported Weekers last year when he faced a no-confidence vote over his handling of a benefit fraud involving Bulgarian gangs, no longer backed the minister, Nos television said.
D66, which together with the Christian parties provides support for the cabinet in the upper house of parliament, also planned to vote in favour of a no-confidence motion.
Tens of thousands of people have not received housing and healthcare benefits they are entitled to because of tax office mistakes. Weekers has been under fire for several days for failing to give proper answers about the problems.
In particular, Weekers said last week it was the fault of claimants themselves that they had not had the benefits. This turned out not to be the case.
The problems stem partly from a tax office decision to pay housing and health benefits to the same bank account, reducing the number of payee accounts from 35 million to 14 million, the Financieele Dagblad said.
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