SFGATE sfgate.com 14 Jan, 2021 13:00 am

Dutch Labor Party leader steps down over welfare scandal

Dutch Labor Party leader steps down over welfare scandal
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The leader of the Dutch opposition Labor Party said...

Lodewijk Asscher was minister for social affairs and a vice-prime minister in a governing coalition led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte when the country's tax office wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters.Asscher said he was standing down despite not having direct knowledge of the tax office's actions.“No, I did not know that the tax office had launched an unlawful hunt for thousands of families.” His decision puts further pressure on Rutte ahead of a Cabinet meeting Friday at which ministers will decide on their reaction to a scathing report issued last month that said the tax office policy aimed at rooting out fraud had violated “fundamental principles of the rule of law.

The government has in the past apologized for the tax office’s methods and in March earmarked 500 million euros ($607 million) to compensate more than 20,000 parents.It is not clear what impact the prime minister's resignation would have on the Netherlands and its struggle to rein in the coronavirus.

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