Poorest citizens Amsterdam made rich by accident, for now

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About 9,000 citizens of Amsterdam received an unexpected Christmas bonus yesterday, Parool reports.

The municipal tax office accidentally floated a comma the wrong way and instead of paying out a housing benefit of 155 euro it transferred 15,500 euro and sometimes even 30,000 euro into its clients’ bank accounts.

The annual benefit is paid on top of a similar federal subsidy that is intended to help the poorest Dutch people make ends meet. The tax office is frantically trying to retrieve the money. Parool says the office fears “most recipients will be unwilling to see a mistake in this”. In total the city has paid out 188 million euro.

“We want to deal with this in a nice way”, a spokesperson told Telegraaf. But one of the accidental recipients who called the tax office was told that if he touched the money, he’d be in trouble, AT5 reports.

Although it is funny to think of the poorest of society being ‘rich’ for a few days, I fear that for some this mistake may only mean more problems in the end.

(Photo of unrelated costume jewellery by GlitzUK, some rights reserved)

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