Norwegian government secures parliamentary majority for new crisis support measures
The Norwegian government and the oppositional Socialist Left Party reached an agreement on the new electricity subsidy scheme aimed primarily at businesses. The agreement also secures extra funding for a number of other crisis measures.
As the Norwegian government doesn't have a majority in the parliament, it needs a so-called "budget partner" to pass its budget through the Norwegian parliament (Storting).
As was the case last year, the government's preferred budget partner is the Socialist Left Party (SV).
On Monday, the ruling Labour (AP) and Centre (SP) parties and the oppositional SV announced that they had reached an agreement on the following measures, according to the news bureau NTB:
- Food banks are guaranteed 2 million kroner in 2022
- Convenience stores with high electricity bills are set to receive 23 million kroner
- A one-off payment to students of 1,500 kroner has been negotiated (with the total cost amounting to 210 million kroner)
- Extra funding for housing benefits in October and November totalling 194 million kroner has been secured
The starting point for the negotiations has been the electricity support scheme for business, which the government parties presented together with the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) in September.
The presented electricity support arrangement for businesses remained unchanged.
SV's negotiator Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes says Autumn will be a challenging time for people struggling with day-to-day expenses in times of crisis.
"People are struggling with their electricity bills, so the community must stand up (for them) in a proper way. With this agreement, some of the most vulnerable groups in society are secured with over 1.2 billion kroner more in electricity support," he says.
Standing together in tough times
According to the agreement, more people will receive housing benefits and more electricity support until April next year, the SV said on Monday.
The Labour Party (AP) has expressed satisfaction with the new electricity support scheme.
"In troubled times, we must stand together and take care of each other and have good arrangements in place for those who will experience extra tight times going forward," AP's Eigil Knutsen, the head of the Finance Committee in the Storting, said.
"I am very happy that we have now received a majority in favour of a good electricity support scheme for businesses, which the LO, NHO, and Virke have also supported," Knutsen added.