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Norway: Government to strengthen measures aimed at youths

| Text: Berit Kvam

Unemployment is growing in Norway, especially among young people. The government’s 2016 budget proposal includes a youth package aimed at preventing more young people from falling outside of education and working life.

Norway’s right-wing government called its 2016 budget proposal a budget for work, activity and change when it presented it to Parliament on Wednesday October 7.

Falling oil prices and reduced petroleum sector activity has led to rising unemployment. Worst hit are the engineering and ICT sectors, petroleum related industries and consultancy businesses. The government proposes to spend a record amount of oil revenues in order to stimulate growth and fight the rising unemployment. The total budget is 1,245 billion kroner (€135bn), out of which 194 billion kroner (€21bn) are oil revenues. 3.8 billion kroner (€0,4bn) come from the oil fund. 

“We want to secure a high employment rate and low unemployment. The government therefore proposes a new action plan for how to increase the number of people in work,” said Siv Jensen, Norway’s Minister of Finance.

Four billion Norwegian kroner (€433m) has been earmarked measures to get more people into work. This includes:

  • 2.5 billion kroner for the maintenance of buildings, including 500 million for the maintenance and rehabilitation of schools and buildings used for welfare purposes.
  • Nearly one billion kroner for business related research and start-up funds to stimulate innovation and business.
  • 4,000 new jobs provided through labour market measures, which means the total number of such jobs for unemployed people could reach 16,000 by 2016.

Youth unemployment has risen since the spring of 2014. A new youth package aims to help young people get into training or activity quickly if they become unemployed. The government proposed 1,000 new jobs provided through labour market measures for young people, a new two year training programme for further secondary education. Workers who have been made redundant could be offered the chance to continue training while still receiving benefits.  

There will be more money for apprenticeships and there will be a reform of the vocational education system. The government also says it wants to review the youth guarantee, especially for people over 20.

Increased fight against the shadow economy

The government also proposes ways in which to fight the shadow economy, partly by awarding an extra 10 million kroner (€1m) to the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority.

“We want to help increase workplace safety, make it easier to run serious businesses while making it harder for people who break the law,” said Rober Eriksson, Norway’s Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. 

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