The leader of the City Council in Oslo, Raymond Johansen (Labour), wishes to launch a pilot scheme where cash benefits are replaced by tuition and activities in some neighbourhoods.
The Labour party big-wig points to that both the so-called Brochmann Commission the Committee for Child Families, recommends removing cash benefits, not least for integration purposes.
Now he asks state collaborate on a pilot project where cash benefits are phased out in some districts – as a pilot scheme.
– Cash benefits combined with a lack of kindergartens in Oslo has been an obstacle for tuition to Oslo’s youngest citizens, says Johansen said.
If the number who utilize the cash benefit scheme stays at the 2016 level, around NOK 180 million will be paid in cash to parents in Oslo from July 1stto June of next year.
– We know that families with immigrant background are overrepresented among the recipients, says Johansen.
5,500 applicable children are not attending kindergarten in Oslo.
Johansen will instead of doling out cash, spend the money on an activity package earmarked for the implicated districts.
The intention should be to strengthen language skills for children and improving on the provisions for training for parents that need it.
– A diverse population is one of Oslo’s biggest assets. However, it is important to have good knowledge of the Norwegian language for everyone to succeed.
We must also give thought to the parents. Many of them do not have access to the labour market. It is therefore important to offer those who are in need work experience and language training to enable them to enter the work force, he points out.
The City Council leader thinks that, that Østensjø and Nordstrand are appropriate districts to experiment with the liquidation of cash benefits.
– But these districts are only suggestions by me. The most important thing will be that we target those groups who are locked into poverty by the current arrangement, combined with adequate kindergarten coverage for these neighbourhoods to can accommodate these children, he said.
Johansen believes this test project that the council has taken the initiative to, should be accompanied by a research project to measure the effect of the experiment on both children and parents.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today