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Several parties ask questions about the basis of figures in the agricultural settlement

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On Thursday, an agreement was reached in the agricultural settlement, but several parties in the Storting believe that the numerical basis the government has used does not have a majority in the Storting. The picture is from the press conference of Tor Jacob Solberg (leader of the Norwegian Farmers and Small Farmers’ Association), Bjørn Gimming (leader of the Norwegian Farmers’ Association) and Agriculture and Food Minister Geir Pollestad (Sp) where the new agreement was presented. Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB

Of NTB | 16.05.2024 14:19:45

Working life: The agreement in the agricultural settlement will shortly be submitted to the Storting, but the parties there are not impressed by the figures the government has used.

Words such as “dishonest numbers” and “arrogant” are used – and many wonder if the outcome of the negotiations will receive a majority in the Storting.

– It is difficult for me to take a position on an agreement that is based on a numerical basis that has no root in reality, that does not have a majority in the Storting, says SV deputy leader Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes in an email to NTB.

He says this is constitutionally something completely new and problematic.

The government states that the agricultural agreement provides for an increase in income of NOK 85,000 per man-year – which will mean that the income gap between agriculture and other groups can be closed by NOK 60,000.

– When Pollestad says that the income increase is NOK 85,000 per man-year, he is doing so on a numerical basis that does not have a majority in the Storting, says Rasmus Hansson, business policy spokesperson for the Green Party.

– The reality is that this settlement is not enough to close the income gap between farmers and other wage earners, he says.

– It is problematic that the government arrogantly overrules the Storting by basing it on the figures from the Storting report on increased income opportunities in agriculture, despite the fact that the government’s proposal did not achieve a majority in the Storting, says agricultural policy spokesperson in the Conservative Party, Lene Westgaard-Halle.

She says that when the outcome of the negotiations is to be considered in the Storting, the Storting must first decide whether they can deal with the outcome of the negotiations at all.

– We cannot continue to embellish the figures because they show a difficult reality, it is a disclaimer of responsibility from the government, says agricultural policy spokesperson in Rødt Geir Jørgensen.

KrF leader Olaug Bollestad says she expects the government to see to it that the Storting’s intention on a step-up plan for income is followed up, while the Liberal Party will initially stand behind a negotiated agreement in the Storting.

Alfred Bjørlo, parliamentary representative for the Liberal Party, says they do not want constant rematches about the numerical basis, but rather that solutions be found based on the new numerical basis the government has presented.

He reserves the right that the negotiated agreement is in line with the new direction for agricultural policy that the Storting laid down in the resolutions relating to self-sufficiency.

– We see that the agreement that has now been concluded is well founded on the guidance given by the Storting when we recently dealt with the strategy for increased self-sufficiency and stepping up income in agriculture, says the Labor Party’s agricultural policy spokesperson Solveig Vitanza.

– If we continue on this track, we might as well start sending the farmers employment contracts in AS Norge. It is quite clear from the agricultural settlements this government has delivered, says agricultural policy spokesperson in FRP Bengt Rune Strifeldt.

He says agriculture has become more dependent on subsidies, and that the government is building on top of the planned economic system that controls the farmer.

– A government that actively gets proposals voted down cannot ignore it. There is no rule that states that the government’s scheme applies if no proposal has a majority, says Fylkesnes.

The Conservative Party believes that the government’s numerical basis represents an undemocratic challenge.

Rødt writes in an email to NTB that they believe the government’s figures are based on dishonest figures, which have no parliamentary majority behind them.

The Labor Party, on the other hand, believes that the numerical basis is within the Storting’s guidelines.

The FRP does not mention anything about the basis of the figures, but is clear that they are not impressed by the result of the agricultural settlement.

(© NTB)

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