Parties Agree on Norway’s 2014 Budget

Conservatives (Høyre) and the Progress Party (FrP) control a minority government, and is thus dependent on support from the Christian Democrats (KrF) and the Liberals (Venstre) to pass the budget in the Parliament. the four parties have negotiated state budget since Monday. Now they come to an agreement.

According to the aggreement among the four parties, the government parties had to change some core issues they defended in their first proposal and increase the budget by 2.2 billion NOK.

Some of the major changes include increased cash suppor to families, increased electricity tax, and financial support for maintenance of railway as well as fewer quota refugees.

Here are some changes in the state budget after yeserday’s negotiation:

  • Tax Class 2 , which provides tax benefits to married couples where one partner stay at home or earn little, get a lower tax rate of 72.000 kr. This is considered still as a victory for the Christian Democrats, since Høyre / FRP government would basically remove the entire scheme. Expense Increase: 260.5 million NOK.
  • CO2 compensation, a support scheme for energy-intensive industries, despite Høyre / FRP’s willingness to remove it. Expense Increase: 123 million NOK.
  • Railway maintenance gets 150 million NOK in the current budget, and 400 million for the 2014 budget. Expenditure Increase: 550 million NOK.
  • Layoff rules for the fishing industry reversed, though Høyre / FRP government stepped in. Expenditure Increase 38 million NOK.
  • Agricultural Research gets more money than Høyre / FRP initially wanted. Expenditure Increase 30 million NOK.
  • Higher dividends from state-owned companies are also part of the budget agreement. Increase: NOK 300 million NOK.
  • 100 new fellowships at universities. Expenditure Increase 31 million NOK.
  • More money to enhance the learning environment. Expense Increase: 10 million NOK.
  • Cash benefits to child support increased from 5,000 NOK per month to 6,000 NOK per month. Expense Increase: 199 million NOK.
  • Cash benefit to women who are not entitled to parental benefits increases by 1000 NOK. Expense Increase: 10 million NOK.
  • The increase in cash benefits to families lead to decrease in support to nursery by 344 million NOK.
  • Social benefit increases to one percent of the state budget. This is very important both for the Liberals and Christian Democrats. Expenditure Increase: 281 million NOK.
  • Unaccompanied minors will have integration grants. It is one of their most important victories of Venstre. Expenditure Increase: 120 million NOK.
  • Cut in press support will not be as much as Høyre / FRP government advocated. Expense Increase: 26.5 million NOK.
  • Scholarship and religious education increased by 15 million each. Expenditure Increase: 30 million NOK.
  • ICT in the Church , an important symbolic victory for the Christian Democratic Party leads to increase by 10 million NOK in the budget.
  • Innovation Norway will provide more grants for enviroment friednly technology projects. Expenditure Increase 30 million NOK.
  • The cuts Høre / FRP government announced in funding scheme for voluntary environmental organizations and protected areas reversed. Expense Increase: 10 million NOK.
  • Reduced greenhouse quota purchases account for a large portion of the cuts in the budget agreement. Coverage: 204 million NOK.
  • Mineral oil tax increased by 52 øre reaching coverage of 600 million NOK.
  • Electricity tax increases as well, which means more expensive electricity for consumers. Coverage: 275 million NOK.
  • Basic amount of the travel allowance increases to 15,000 NOK. Coverage: 95 million NOK.
  • Ministries also must make some compromises. Operating aid is cut. Coverage 70 million NOK.
  • Parliament has less money to spend. Coverage: 10 million NOK.

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