Monday, January 17

Conservatives and FRP: Vedum may have misinformed the Storting about wage support

Both the Conservatives and the Green Party demand that Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) explain himself in the Storting about the wage subsidy. Vedum may have misinformed, they believe.

– That Vedum pushes Esa in front of him, and Esa refutes his claims, means that it is necessary for Vedum to come to the Storting on Monday to explain the case, says FRP leader Sylvi Listhaug (FRP).

– It seems that the Minister of Finance may have misinformed the Storting. We have to clarify this, says fiscal policy spokesperson for the Conservative Party Tina Bru to NTB.

The Progress Party thinks the same.

– It is very serious if the Minister of Finance has misinformed the Storting about what room for maneuver Norway has in accordance with the EEA agreement, says FRP leader Sylvi Listhaug.

On Monday, the FRP will ask the President of the Storting to ask Vedum to come to the Storting at the end of the meeting the same day to answer questions, she says.

On Sunday, the EEA’s supervisory body Esa rejected to NTB the claim from Vedum that the government can not provide more wage support due to the EU’s competition rules.

The Progress Party demands that Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) explain himself to the Storting after it became known that Esa rejects the claim that the government has no more to go on in the wage support scheme due to EU competition rules.

Esa: The size of the salary is irrelevant

The wage support scheme provides companies with compensation of up to 80 per cent of employees’ wages. But the government has set a ceiling on the support to 30,000 kroner per. employee.

– The reason why we have come there is that this has been agreed with Esa earlier today, in an informal process, to know that you do not put the schemes in danger if you go too high, Vedum said when the wage support scheme was presented to the Storting Friday.

However, according to a temporary EEA regulation from 18 November, up to 80 per cent of wage support can be granted, regardless of the size of the wage.

– How much salary the individual has is irrelevant, says Esa’s communications manager Jarle Hetland to NTB.

– Pushes Esa in front of him

“ESA’s statement only reinforces the uncertainty surrounding the government’s proposal and further clarifies the need for companies and employees to get a clarification of the wage support scheme before Christmas,” says Bru.

– That Vedum pushes Esa in front of him, and Esa refutes his claims, makes it necessary for Vedum to come to the Storting on Monday to explain the case.

– The wage support scheme launched by the government has been slaughtered by both employees and companies. We believe we can not go into Christmas with this situation, she says.

NHO and Virke surprised

NHO and Virke are also very surprised by the revelation.

– NHO has repeatedly asked to raise the maximum amount, but the Ministry of Finance was clear to NHO on Friday that the wage subsidy scheme would then run counter to state aid regulations in the EEA, and that there was nothing more to go on, says working life director Nina Melsom to NTB.

Both organizations demand that Vedum clarify as soon as possible what room for maneuver he actually has.

Vedum informs NTB on Sunday that the scheme was set up in dialogue with Esa, and that the information is given on the basis of this.

– We were concerned with putting the roof on the scheme so that we did not break the state aid rules. If it now turns out that Esa has changed her view, I will set up a clarifying meeting with Esa as soon as possible, he says.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Finance rejected a request from NTB to comment on the demand from the Conservatives and the Green Party.

Do not understand

Esa’s communications manager also does not understand Vedum’s claim that if the scheme had had a further framework, there could have been a risk of getting a no from Esa.

– The temporary framework opens up a very large space. We see no reason to put sticks in the wheels of the various EEA countries’ authorities and the measures they choose to introduce to protect their economies, companies and citizens, as long as these are proportionate and in accordance with EEA regulations, says Hetland.

The requirement that no employees can be laid off for a company to receive wage support is also something the government itself has designed, according to Hetland.

Both NHO and Virke now demand that this principle be removed.

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