Norwegian government announces new corona support measures

Jan Christian VestrePhoto: Torstein Bøe / NTB
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The Norwegian government wants to extend the general compensation scheme for the business community. However, it also plans to place restrictions on dividends, Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum stated on Tuesday morning.

The requirement to qualify for the scheme – the fall in turnover – will be reduced from 40 to 30% in the November-December period. At the same time, the support amount per company will be reduced from NOK 20 to 15 million for the two-month period.

There will also be restrictions on dividends, Vedum and Minister of Trade and Industry Jan Christian Vestre (AP) said on Tuesday.

“We expect owners and managers to act responsibly. The government is clear that the corona support (funding) should be aimed at keeping people in work, not at creating benefits for owners. Companies that make a profit in 2021 will be required to repay the support they receive for November and December,” Vestre said.

The details of the compensation scheme, also after the New Year, will be put in place together with a new wage support scheme so that the overall structure and level of compensation will be comprehensive and adapted to the situation.

NOK 600 million to sports and volunteering 

The government is prepared to allocate NOK 600 million to compensate for the loss of income in sports and volunteering due to new corona restrictions.

On Monday, the government presented new measures to limit the spread of infection. These measures affected the sports sector.

As a result, the Norwegian authorities are now introducing improved support schemes.

“To get control of the infection situation, we must have even stricter measures. That hits culture, sports, and volunteering hard. We have always said that we need better schemes, and now we are delivering: We are improving the compensation scheme, strengthening the existing policy instruments, and reintroducing the stimulation scheme,” Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Anette Trettebergstuen said.

A total of NOK 1.7 billion is set aside for the culture sector. Furthermore, NOK 600 million will go to a subsidy scheme for public events of national value in the sports sector and temporary subsidies to the voluntary sector.

“We make some changes at the same time, and for sports and volunteering, there will no longer be any difference in whether the event is canceled or scaled-down. The coverage rate will be the same,” Trettebergstuen noted.

Guarantee scheme for bank loans to companies reintroduced

The government also stated that the guarantee scheme for bank loans to companies is reintroduced. However, the measure must be approved by EFTA’s monitoring body ESA, the government states.

“The government will stand up for the companies that need it, among other things, by reintroducing the (bank) loan guarantee scheme,” Vedum noted.

The guarantee scheme for bank loans to companies was established in March 2020 and was open for new loans until October 31 this year.

The scheme means that the state guarantees 90% of the amount in new bank loans to companies facing an acute lack of liquidity as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

According to the government, the reintroduction must be seen in the light of the fact that certain parts of the business community are particularly affected by the new infection control measures and may have a basis for applying for guaranteed loans.

The guarantee framework for the scheme is divided between the individual banks, which assess whether loan applicants meet the conditions and can obtain a loan. The total guarantee framework is NOK 50 billion, of which just over NOK 11 billion is in use today, according to figures from Eksfin.

NOK 600 million to sports and volunteering 

The government is prepared to allocate NOK 600 million to compensate for the loss of income in sports and volunteering due to new corona restrictions.

On Monday, the government presented new measures to limit the spread of infection. These measures affected the sports sector.

As a result, the Norwegian authorities are now introducing improved support schemes.

“To get control of the infection situation, we must have even stricter measures. That hits culture, sports, and volunteering hard. We have always said that we need better schemes, and now we are delivering: We are improving the compensation scheme, strengthening the existing policy instruments, and reintroducing the stimulation scheme,” Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Anette Trettebergstuen said.

A total of NOK 1.7 billion is set aside for the culture sector. Furthermore, NOK 600 million will go to a subsidy scheme for public events of national value in the sports sector and temporary subsidies to the voluntary sector.

“We make some changes at the same time, and for sports and volunteering, there will no longer be any difference in whether the event is canceled or scaled-down. The coverage rate will be the same,” Trettebergstuen noted.

Guarantee scheme for bank loans to companies reintroduced

The government also stated that the guarantee scheme for bank loans to companies is reintroduced. However, the measure must be approved by EFTA’s monitoring body ESA, the government states.

“The government will stand up for the companies that need it, among other things, by reintroducing the (bank) loan guarantee scheme,” Vedum noted.

The guarantee scheme for bank loans to companies was established in March 2020 and was open for new loans until October 31 this year.

The scheme means that the state guarantees 90% of the amount in new bank loans to companies facing an acute lack of liquidity as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

According to the government, the reintroduction must be seen in the light of the fact that certain parts of the business community are particularly affected by the new infection control measures and may have a basis for applying for guaranteed loans.

The guarantee framework for the scheme is divided between the individual banks, which assess whether loan applicants meet the conditions and can obtain a loan. The total guarantee framework is NOK 50 billion, of which just over NOK 11 billion is in use today, according to figures from Eksfin.

Support schemes for the unemployed, laid off, and freelancers 

The temporary rules for unemployment benefits and the compensation scheme for the self-employed and freelancers will be extended until February next year, the government noted.

The uncertain infection situation and new infection control measures that were announced on Tuesday night make it necessary to extend several schemes, the government warned on Tuesday.

“New infection control measures mean new uncertainty for the labor market. It is, therefore, necessary to extend schemes so that people without jobs or assignments are taken care of,” Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Hadia Tajik (AP) stated.

Among others, the following corona schemes that were supposed to apply until the end of January are now extended until the end of February:

  • * The compensation scheme for the self-employed and freelancers
  • * The right to unemployment benefits for the unemployed and laid off, regardless of how long they have received the benefit
  • * The period for work assessment allowance recipients who have been cleared for work
  • * Increased unemployment benefit rate of 80% compensation for the part of the unemployment benefit that is less than three times the basic amount
  • * The special unemployment benefits rules for apprentices

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayFinance

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