National Insurance Budget growth makes Solberg uneasy

Prime Minister Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Increasing expenses for the National Insurance Fund give rise to turmoil, according to Prime Minister, Erna Solberg of Høyre (H).

But cuts in sick pay or other welfare benefits are not planned.

‘Get less people on the various benefits, and make sure more people are at work. That’s the solution,’ said Solberg to NTB News agency.

In a speech to Høyre’s ‘Central Council’ on Sunday, the Prime Minister expressed concern about the sustainability of the welfare system. She concluded that politicians must be willing to make unpopular decisions, and make demanding choices.

One of the challenges she pinpointed is the expense of the National Insurance Scheme. When it was introduced in 1967, National Insurance amounted to 5.4% of GDP in Norway. Now it’s at 16%.

‘In future, it will not be sustainable if the National Insurance Scheme’s budget continues to grow at the same rate,’ said Solberg.

No cuts

Several senior, right-wing players have repeatedly criticised the social benefit
scheme, such as sick pay. The four youth organisations on the civic side have also pointed out the necessity of cutting this.

But such a political warning didn’t come from the prime minister on Sunday.

‘We must see this from the perspective of the individual. It will not be easier for
you to get into work when nobody will hire you’ said Solberg.

‘The main weight of those who are out of work today are those who have the
health to work, and want to be at work. The problem is that their competence,
and ability to work hasn’t hit on an employer willing to bet on them’, she added.

Solberg further emphasised that the effect of pension reforms will make growth
lower than it would otherwise have been.

Trust

The Prime Minister began her speech to the central government by pointing to the crisis in confidence that has arisen between voters and established political parties in a number of countries.

Although politicians in Norway generally enjoy high confidence from the population, the same development could also come here, she warned.

Being open about the problems, and challenges, is some of the key to stopping thecrisis arriving here, according to Solberg.

‘We must also be open to solutions that may be demanding,’ said the prime minister.

She argued that it’s important to include more groups in education, and working life, as well as stimulating more elderly people to stay in work longer.

 

©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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