The Storting asks external experts to consider whether in the future it will be possible to get a free Storting apartment if you already own an apartment in Oslo.
The experts will also consider whether it should be possible to allow adult children to live in the passenger home.
It appears in the mandate that the Storting administration has prepared for an external review of the Storting scheme for passenger housing.
The presidency approved the proposed mandate, which was delivered by the Storting’s director, Marianne Andreassen, earlier this week.
The review comes as a result of Aftenposten revelations that various politicians have benefited from the Storting’s traveler housing scheme.
We have also revealed that the Storting management may have misinterpreted the tax rules for more than 20 years. This means that both individual politicians and the Storting himself are now at risk of a backlash on the tax.
First, the administration decided that the Grette Law Firm should analyze the tax aspects of the scheme.
The then president of the Storting Tone W. Trøen said there should also be a general review of the rules and conditions for commuter apartments. But without it being clear if it should be done internally, or if it should be done externally and independently.
Most of the parties in the Storting argued to Aftenposten that the investigation must be external and independent. So it was.
Two external reviews this fall
Now the mandate is clear. But it has not been decided who will receive the assignment or when it will be completed. Who it will be will be decided shortly, Aftenposten is informed.
Therefore, this fall there will be two external reviews of various aspects of the traveler housing scheme.
These are some of the points of the mandate:
- If the link to the “population register” or the address of the “actual resident” is appropriate, or if there are better alternatives.
- The fact that ownership and / or access to a dwelling in the vicinity of the Storting means that one is not entitled to a accommodation for travelers.
- Whether there should be access to allow other people to live in the passenger home for a shorter or longer period of time, such as adult children.
- If the distance requirement of 40 km in mileage from the Storting is still a reasonable criterion.
Today, representatives living in Drammen, Asker and Lillestrøm can get a commuter apartment for free, because the distance to the Storting is just over 40 kilometers.
For many others who live in these places, this is a completely normal travel route, with no free benefits.
New arrangement: not too generous, not too tight
Under the mandate, the purpose of the external review is to get rules that “best match” the intent behind the traveler housing scheme.
It is also stated in the mandate that those who live so far from the Storting that it is “necessary to have a secondary residence closer to Oslo”, will have access to accommodation for travelers.
The text accompanying the mandate states that “representatives of the Storting find themselves in many different life situations and may have different forms of connection to housing both in their hometown and in the Oslo area.”
Therefore, the traveler housing scheme “should be designed to capture the real needs of travelers, but without being too generous or narrow.”
The review will take into account “the special needs and considerations that apply to individuals who have been elected to serve in the country’s national assembly.”
At the same time, this must be assessed in relation to what is common practice for ordinary employees who have to travel for work reasons.