The Dutch government has resigned in the wake of the childcare benefit scandal after an official report said ministers, civil servants, parliament and even judges had a role in the affair, which left parents powerless to fight back when accused of fraud.
The collapse of the four-party coalition had been widely expected by commentators, and had been given extra impetus by the decision of Labour party leader Lodewijk Asscher to resign on Thursday.
Asscher was social affairs minister at the time of the scandal, in which thousands of families were wrongly accused of defrauding the tax office and ordered to pay back benefits, causing many acute financial problems.
Prime minister Mark Rutte was known to want to stay on to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, but other party leaders, such as D66’s Sigrid Kaag, said earlier that ‘political consequences’ from the report are unavoidable.
Ministers will stay on in a ‘demissionair‘ or holding function until the general election on March 17. This means they will be unable to take decisions deemed by the upper and lower houses of parliament as controversial.