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MONEY

EXPLAINED: What the revised national budget in Norway means for foreigners 

The Norwegian government has presented its revised budget for 2022. Here's The Local's roundup of some of the key proposals and what they mean for your wallet.

Pictured are coins.
Owning an electric car, higher loan and mortgage repayments are among the things becoming more expensive in the revised budget. Pictured is a a stack of coins. Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photo-of-stacked-coins-128867/

Electric cars to become more expensive

The government will replace the VAT exemption for electric cars with a subsidy scheme. This means that electric cars that cost over 500,000 kroner will be subject to VAT, while EVs that cost less will be exempt from VAT. 

The government has said the cost of buying an EV with a sticker price of 600,000 would become 25,000 kroner more expensive. 

An EV costing more than a million kroner will become 125,000 kroner pricier, according to the government’s proposals. 

“If you can afford to buy a car for 1.7 million, it is only fair and reasonable that you also pay VAT,” Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum said of the announcement

The scheme will come into effect next year. 

Free ferry tickets

All ferry journeys on routes with less than 100,00 passengers will be free from July 1st. This is likely to make around 30 of Norway’s 130 connections completely free of charge. 

The free trips will apply to local residents, tourists and other travellers. 

READ MORE: Why some ferry routes in Norway will be completely free this summer

It’ll become easier to get a better deal on energy prices 

The government will offer five million kroner in funding to help improve the Consumer Council’s electricity price comparison site strømpris.no.

The funding will make the comparison site better so that both spot price and fixed price customers can get the best energy deal available and save money. 

The government expects high electricity prices to continue

The government has written in its revised national budget that it expects high energy prices to continue. 

Tax revenues from the power companies will be used to cover the expenses of the electricity subsidy scheme, which sees the government pick up 80 percent of energy bills when the spot prices rise above a certain amount. 

Experts: Loan and mortgage repayments to increase faster

Loan and mortgage repayments could go up more quickly than anticipated due to increased oil spending, business and financial site E24 reports. 

In the revised budget, the government has said that it plans on spending 30 billion more of revenue from the oil fund than previously expected. 

“I think this is a somewhat more expansive use of money than Norges Bank (Norway’s central bank) had envisioned, and in that sense, I think that in isolation, it could contribute to a higher interest rate path, not strongly, but somewhat higher,” Kjersti Haugland, chief economist at DNB, told E24. 

If Norges Bank raises the key policy rate, lenders will follow suit meaning the loan or mortgage becomes more expensive to repay. 

Counties will be split up to improve local services

Viken will be divided into Akerhus, Buskerud and Østfold. Vestfold og Telemark will be split into two, as will Troms og Finnamrk. 

If parliament can make a final decision before the summer, the division will take place from January 1st 2024. 

The government wants to split the counties to improve the availability of local services in these areas, according to a press release from the Ministry of Local Government

Air passenger tax scrapped for the rest of the year

The air passenger tax, which was shelved for the last few years, will also be frozen until the end of the year. 

Cut in support for public transport

The government will be cutting its support scheme for public transport firms hit by a loss of income related to the pandemic from July 1st. 

For consumers, this means that some firms will cut the routes they offer due to the funding ending. 

Ruter has said that it is already cutting the number of routes from July 4th as passenger numbers are not back to pre-pandemic levels.Routes could also be cut in Oslo and Viken

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MONEY

Cost of living: Why food prices in Norway are going up from Friday

Shoppers' food bills in Norway will become more expensive as the prices of groceries in the country's largest supermarkets will be adjusted on Friday. 

Cost of living: Why food prices in Norway are going up from Friday

Supermarkets in Norway are likely to introduce widescale price rises on July 1st. Each year, supermarkets raise their prices twice, once in February and once in July. 

Shoppers can expect to see “noticeable price increases”, according to a group which owns two supermarket chains in Norway. 

“There is no doubt that there will be price increases, noticeable price increases,” director of business policy and government contact at Norgesgruppen, Bård Gultvedt, told newspaper VG

Why are food prices going up? 

Norgesgruppen owns the supermarket chains Meny and Kiwi. Gultvedt said that suppliers had put their prices up significantly. 

“We have experienced that the suppliers have come to us and asked for abnormally high price increases, and then we have negotiated,” Gultvedt said. 

Producer Orkla has also warned of significant price rises. 

“We are facing the most serious situation I have been in during my 31 years in the Norwegian food industry,” Håkon Mageli, executive VP of Orkla, told VG. 

Mageli pointed to higher raw material prices and a sharp increase in energy costs as to why suppliers and producers are pushing prices up. 

In the longer term, he pointed to fertilizer prices as worrying producers and suppliers. 

READ ALSO: Five essential tips for saving money on food shopping in Norway

How much will prices go up? 

The average family in Norway could end up spending 14,300 kroner more on food shopping this year due to increasing prices. 

Food prices rose by 4.5 percent earlier this year, according to national data agency Statistics Norway. Consumer economist Cecile Tvetendstrand told VG that this corresponded to a family with two adults and two kids spending an extra 7,000 kroner on food annually. 

If food prices increase by another five percent, it would add another 7,300 kroner to the average shopping bill for a family of four. 

However, how much food has risen following supermarket adjustments is currently unclear. 

Analyst Christian Anton Smedshaug from Agri Analyze has said the price for some products would rise between one to three percent, while others will see hikes of more than ten percent. 

Producer Notura has said that the price of meat and eggs will see a high price increase and that, according to an overall assessment from the company, that increases will generally be around five percent across the board.

Rema and Coop Norge SA have both announced that customers should expect rises to rise too. 

Supermarkets asked to take their share of the bill 

Minister of Agriculture Sandra Borch has asked food chains and supermarkets to not pass on all the costs to consumers. 

“It is not me as Minister of Agriculture who sets the price of food. It is set by suppliers and grocery chains. I urge and assume that they do not increase the price of food more than they have to,” Borch told business and financial site E24

The minister said that a record 10.9 billion agricultural package given to farmers to help tackle increased costs and keep farming viable without massively increasing prices was the government’s contribution to curbing food inflation. 

“The government is concerned that food prices should not rise so much. Precisely for this reason, it was important to land an agricultural settlement that is historically high,” she said. 

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