Prime Minister Erna Solberg was prepared to usher in the election year with a budget cut for the ages. Then, refugee flow dried up completely.
“It looked very difficult in the spring. The starting point was that we had to cut a lot. There was talk of billions. It had been the by far the most challenging budget in Norway for very many years,” says Solberg to news agency NTB.
The dramatic decline in the number of asylum seekers gave the government more wiggle room, but it is still a challenging budget, Solberg said, adding that there will be no set party budget the government put forward Thursday.
“Those who think there is a lot of money to maneuver with are wrong. We stood in front of a substantial budget cut. Now, we are only avoiding cuts that we otherwise have undertaken.
If the refugee influx continues at current levels, there will only be around 3,500 asylum seekers to Norway this year. That is one-tenth of last year’s number.
Based on the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) numbers for what it costs to have an applicant resident for one year, this one expense based on the current influx will be 5.6 billion lower next year than this year, show calculations that NTB made in August .
Even an influx this year of 10,000 people, which UDI predicts, will lead to the state receiving 4.3 billion less in spending next year than this year.
And while last year’s asylum influx will tie up approximately 13 billion kr over the next five years in grants, this year’s arrivals will only trigger 1.6 billion.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today