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The government is tinkering with the budget – clearly announcing a focus on the police

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Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) will, together with the rest of the government, deal with the revised national budget at a meeting on Thursday. Photo: Javad Parsa / NTB

Of NTB | 25.04.2024 09:52:58

Crime and justice: – There will be extra funds for the police in the revised national budget. They are under great pressure, and do an important job for your safety and mine, says Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Sp) to NTB.

On Thursday, the stage is set for a government conference where the revised national budget (RNB) is on the agenda.

It is in RNB that the government makes updates to this year’s state budget, and the final proposal is presented on 14 May.

– There will still be a clear investment in helping to improve the everyday economy of people throughout the country, says Vedum.

– There will be a powerful effort on defence, police and emergency preparedness, says Vedum.

The Minister of Finance announces three main priorities from the government in RNB:

* A powerful investment in defense and preparedness

* A clear focus on the police

* Strengthen welfare, ensure that people have a job to go to and contribute to people throughout Norway getting better advice

Vedum denies that the investment in the updated budget is a response to that, but admits that there have been challenges in the police.

– The first thing we did when we took over the government was to increase the police budget compared to what Erna Solberg’s government had proposed. But there is no doubt that it has been a demanding time for many in the police due to high price growth and the after-effects of corona, says the finance minister.

Recently, there have been several episodes of violence in Norway with links to Swedish criminal gangs, and several cases of youth crime.

– We are a completely different place to Sweden, but we have to ensure that the police can do their job well, says Vedum.

– I want to see what they spend the money on before I cheer, he says to NTB.

Stensland says that the Conservative Party has proposed a number of offensive measures against youth crime which the Center Party has voted down in the Storting.

– More money is all well and good. But the government is still doing the wrong thing. They have spent money on new offices and other things the police don’t want, just symbolic politics, he says.

He is also surprised that Vedum is talking about the national budget in 2021.

– He is stuck in the past. And overlooks that they collected a lot of money in the new balance in the same year. A lot has happened in Norwegian crime since then, says Stensland.

The Conservative Party believes that the government’s number one job must now be to get all newly trained police officers into work.

– The minimum the Center Party should ensure is work for the 400 new graduates who do not have a job. Now there will soon be a new generation, and then we will have 800 police officers without a job. At the same time, the police are cutting back on prevention and other activities, he says.

In addition, as mentioned, the government has promised the least NOK 635 million extra for the police, for extraordinary pension expenses, IT operation and maintaining the police staff.

According to the government, the defense budget must be increased by NOK 15 billion together this year and next year, but they have not said how much of that will come already this year.

They have also promised that NATO’s target of spending two per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on the Armed Forces will be reached already this year.

Calculations NTB has made previously show that at least NOK 5.26 billion more is needed for the Armed Forces in this year’s budget to reach the target. The calculation is based on the latest estimate from the Ministry of Finance for this year’s GDP, which came in March.

The government already in February promised NOK 635 million more to the police this year, but it is uncertain whether the finance minister is talking about even more money than that.

In recent months, the opposition parties Høyre and Frp have repeatedly criticized the government for not prioritizing the police high enough.

Høyre’s justice policy spokesperson Sveinung Stensland is currently waiting to get excited about the signals from the government.

So far, the government has come up with one major leak from the revised national budget, and there are several billion NOK extra for the Armed Forces.

(© NTB)

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