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New Government in Norway: Less Inequality, More Focus on Environment, Welfare and Localization

Labor party leader Jonas Gahr Støre and Center Party (Sp) leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum presented the new government platform on Wednesday at 14.00.

– Now it’s the common people’s turn. The differences between people will be decreased. We must have a safe working life and an active labor policy. We will use the whole country. Norway is diverse, says Labor leader Jonas Gahr Støre.

– Now Norway will have a government that will listen to the people. We will not overtake people, but work to reduce the differences socially and geographically, Vedum says.

Some key points from the agreed policies of the new government:

Health

  • Cheaper dentist for young people . The new government will introduce free dental care for people aged 19 to 21 and pay the half price of dental care for people aged 22 to 25.
  • Health care model: less privatization and better managementThe Labor Party and the Center Party view the health trust model differently, but the government platform states that they will “study changes in the management of hospitals and the health care model, with the aim of ensuring continued state ownership, strong regional, political and democratic governance and local leadership”. The two parties will also have reduced market thinking and less use of effort-driven financing.
  • Production of medicines in Norway.  Arrangements will be made for the production of critically important medicines in Norway, such as vaccines, antibiotics and raw materials for medicines. They will establish a national center for the development and production of vaccines and drugs.

Abortion

  • Released in the abortion case . The government will appoint a committee to look at the provisions of the Abortion Act, the follow-up of women who have abortions, and alternatives to the current abortion rules. 

Family

  • Want free SFO eventually . The new government will gradually introduce free social activities after and before the school time (SFO) for all first graders. Nothing has been said about when the goal will be reached.
  • Reduces maximum price in the kindergarten . The new government says it will reduce the maximum price for parental payment in the kindergarten back to the price level from the kindergarten settlement in 2003. This will happen during 2022.
  • Limits cash support . The cash benefit is reduced to apply to children who are between 12 and 18 months old. Families who have children who are between 18 and 24 months old can receive waiting allowance if they have applied for, but not received a daycare place.

School

  • Introduces school meals . The Labor Party and the Center Party agree to gradually introduce a daily healthy and simple school meal. In addition, the two government parties want to introduce daily physical activity in the school, with freedom for the schools to organize this themselves.

Work

  • Job guarantee. Introduces an activity reform for new recipients of work allowance and disability benefits, so that those who can work somewhat are given a job guarantee that ensures a real opportunity to combine social security and work. NAV shall have an overall responsibility for securing jobs adapted to this group, at the same time as the municipalities have a duty to ensure that this group gets a job. The scheme will be phased in gradually and start with the young people. The municipalities’ additional costs will be covered.
  • Tightens for temporary employment . The government will remove the general access to temporary employment. tighten the possibility of circumventing employer liability, among other things by amending the Working Environment Act, initiating legislative work to limit the scope and role of the staffing industry, reintroduce a collective right of action and ensure that pay and working conditions are strengthened through tender processes, company splitting and other changes in company structure.
  • Management wage increase must be stopped . The new government will create new guidelines for executive pay and other types of remuneration for managers in the state, which will contribute to reduced pay differences. It will also ensure that the management wage development in the public sector does not exceed what is the average wage development in society.

Taxes / fees / tolls

  • Less tax under 750,000 kroner . The government will reduce the income tax for those with incomes below NOK 750,000 and increase the tax for others. The trade union deduction will be doubled and the commuter deduction increased.
  • Higher tax on expensive electric cars. VAT is paid on the amount over NOK 600,000 when buying new electric cars.
  • Changes wealth tax . The government removes much of the share deduction on assets. The government will make the wealth tax fairer, by people with high wealth paying more in taxes at the same time as the bottom deduction is increased. Shares and commercial real estate etc. will be valued at 80 per cent in line with the tax settlement in 2016.
  • Investigates toll solution . The government will study solutions that can replace tolls in the future.

Counties

  • Counties can be dissolved. “The submitted application from Troms and Finnmark for dissolution will be granted, and during 2021 a process will be started to restore Akershus, Buskerud and Østfold based on an application from the county council in Viken.

Electricity

  • Will reduce electricity tax. The new government will implement several measures to reduce high electricity costs. The measures include lower taxes on electric power, increased housing support, geographical price equalization of grid rent, strengthened consumer rights and increased production of Norwegian power. The government will not have new foreign cables, and will also study how Norwegian power exports affect Norwegian Norwegian electricity prices and security of supply.

Climate

  • Continued oil exploration . The new government will continue to look for oil in new areas. According to the government platform, exploration will take place through the allocation of licenses in “mature areas”, ie through the so-called APA rounds. The government will not conduct an impact assessment of oil activities near Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja.
  • Increases the CO₂ tax . The CO tax will be gradually increased to around NOK 2,000 by 2030. Environmental and climate taxes will be arranged socially just and differentiated geographically where possible and appropriate.
  • Will cut 55 percent by 2030 . By 2030, 55 percent of Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions will be cut, measured against 1990, according to the government platform. This obligation applies to the entire economy, including the sector subject to quotas. The government will make Norway a driving force for a more ambitious international climate policy, with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the platform states.

Predators

  • Investigates lower population targets . The new government will study whether it can reduce the current population of wolves and bears, with the aim of reducing the burden on local communities.

EEA

  • Protects the EEA. The EEA agreement will form the basis for Norway’s relations with Europe. The room for maneuver in the agreement will be studied and used actively, and targeted efforts will be made to defend Norwegian interests vis-à-vis the EU.
  • But investigating … The government will carry out a study to assess the experiences from EEA co-operation over the past 10 years. In this connection, the experiences of related countries outside the EU with alternative agreements with the EU will be studied

Railway

  • Wants an exemption from the EU railway package . Enter into dialogue with the EU as soon as possible with the aim of securing Norway an exemption from parts of the provisions in the EU’s fourth railway package.
  • Will stop competitive bidding. The Government will stop further competitive tendering of passenger traffic on the railway and stop the planned competitive tendering of tasks within operation, maintenance and emergency preparedness related to the railway’s infrastructure
  • Yes to the Northern Norway line. Carry out a concept selection study with the aim of realizing the development of the Northern Norway line. The concept selection study will be completed and processed in connection with the next roll-out of the National Transport Plan.

Refugees

  • Uncertain about quota refugees. The new government does not describe exactly how many quota refugees it envisages receiving in the next few years. “We will give priority to receiving quota refugees through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The level of quota refugees is seen in connection with the level of asylum arrivals, “it says. The current government has opened up to receive 3,000 quota refugees annually.
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