June 14, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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State Secretary De Vries in the Hoeksche Waard due to the municipality’s concerns regarding the settlement of the allowance issue

State Secretary De Vries in the Hoeksche Waard due to the municipality’s concerns regarding the settlement of the allowance issue

Outgoing Minister of State Okje de Vries visited Oud-Beijerland today at the invitation of Chancellor Paul Bogarde to discuss previously expressed concerns about the settlement of the benefits issue. Earlier this year, he wrote a letter to the Secretary of State about the inequalities that arise for victims due to the space available to municipalities to help them make a fresh start in the context of recovery. In cooperation with a delegation from the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG), with the participation of municipal employees and affected residents, the councilor discussed his concerns and what is needed to prevent unequal treatment of victims.

The benefits issue affects tens of thousands of Dutch people. About 130 families in Hoeksche Waard were affected. In November 2022, the House of Representatives approved a draft law regulating compensation and support from municipalities and deferring or canceling debts. However, according to Bogaard, the feasibility leaves much to be desired: “Municipalities are allowed to decide how they help victims because of the broad frameworks. We were initially happy that we were given the freedom to apply customization. But in practice we see that this leads to unequal treatment. In practice, this means that Municipality A is much more generous than Municipality B. Very practical: that – based on the same situation – you will be compensated for a new car in municipality A if you need transportation to get to work, while you cannot override a used bicycle in municipality B. It is important in which municipality you live And how “generous” the law is in this municipality. I find this unequal treatment to be completely undesirable and does not contribute to recovery.

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New appointments

Councilor Boogaard appreciates that the Secretary of State took the time to listen to what the municipality is facing in practice: “We all have the same goal: to help those affected as best and as quickly as possible.” According to Bogaard, new agreements are needed on implementing broad support. Bogard: “We have noticed that the role of municipalities has changed over time and that new agreements are needed. That is why during the conversation I asked the Secretary of State and the VNG to jointly reach implementable agreements for municipalities in the short term. During the conversation, I was promised that the most urgent files of the integrated victim assessment from our municipality would be dealt with more quickly.