Tackling problem debt
The national ombudsman, the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) and the Court of Audit have highlighted the need to tackle problem debt.
The Court of Audit has asked the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment and the Minister of Security and Justice to consider the need to tackle problem debt. A national policy is needed to find out whether the government and its agencies actually help people who have problem debts. There is currently no such national policy. Not enough is known about, for example, how many people have problem debts, how many of them are successfully helped and how much public money is spent to help them. There is also only limited understanding of how many people owe money to government bodies such as the Tax and Customs Administration and the Central Judicial Collection Agency (CJIB). This understanding is necessary because government bodies are major creditors in the Netherlands. Owing to the limited national understanding it is not known whether the government or its agencies are effectively and efficiently tackling problem debt and the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment and the Minister of Security and Justice cannot account to the House of Representatives for the measures they take. The available figures and estimates indicate that only a small proportion of the people with problem debts are actually helped but the available data is incomplete. Problem debt is an obstacle to participation and entails social costs.
These problems are considered in Aanpak problematische schulden(‘Tackling Problem Debt’). The report presents an overarching picture of how the government tackles the problem through debt assistance, debt management and debt restructuring. It is based on the Court of Audit’s own audit and analytical findings and a combination of third-party information and research.