Norway's government strikes crisis deal with opposition
Norway's government has agreed a new coronavirus economic support package with opposition parties, opening the way to a massive 20bn Norwegian kroner a month in support to companies hit by the lockdown.
According to Norway's VG newspaper, the parties have agreed to back the bill in exchange for as much as 7bn Norwegian kroner ($700m) in additional funding for local government, infrastructure, and education.
The package in intended provide cash support for small businesses, such as hairdressers, which have lost their income, with the full details to be announced on April 3.
The package will also see value added tax reduced to six percent for many industries up until 31 October 2020, and postpone payment of special taxes on the energy and brewing industries until June.
To secure the deal, the government has agreed to provide an extra 5bn Norwegian kroner in funding for the country's municipalities, and a billion kroner in extra infrastructure spending on roads and railways.
"We are pleased that we have secured immediate grants to the municipalities and counties totalling 5bn kroner," Hadia Tajik, the Labour Party's financial spokesperson, told VG. "They are making a tremendous effort to prevent infection and ensure people's well-being, but they need immediate guarantees that the government is going to support them through this crisis."
Sylvi Listhaug, financial spokesperson for the Progress Party, claimed credit for securing additional funding for road and rail upgrades. "This is good because it needs to be done anyway and it will create business for Norwegian companies," she told VG.
The deal also includes a billion kroner in grants so that the newly unemployed can study.