Big changes to salmon tax on way, says senior politician

There will be important changes to Norway’s controversial salmon tax proposal, a senior member of the Labour-Centre coalition has said.

Geir Pollestad from the Centre Party and a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs said, in an interview with the newspaper Dagbladet, that the government would approach the issue with an open mind.

He said the tax will be different from what was first presented last September.

Asked by Dagbladet if the changes would be significant, he replied: “Yes, that is for sure. We have said many times that the listening is real. There are things that have not been fully decided. There will be changes and we go into this with an open mind.”

He confirmed that the original – and highly unpopular – standard rate was now off the table, adding that the decision to follow the Nasdaq price was not a good idea.

The salmon or “ground rent” tax plan has created a political storm in Norway with salmon companies cancelling or postponing investment projects worth billions of kroner.

Both Labour and the Centre Party, which are governing in coalition, have come under considerable pressure to make changes, some of it from within their own ranks.

Pollestad said: “We want to have a value determination that captures the right price for the salmon, not one that makes people have to pay taxes for income they don’t have. We want the right value determination and one which is not too bureaucratic.”

Sigrun Wiggen Prestbakmo, the Mayor of Salangen in Troms and Finnmark County, and a senior member of the Centre party, told Dagenbladet the paper that she felt more positive after new signals from the government.

She added: “There are so many powerful forces that would very much like to drain this industry of resources – too many people who think this is an industry that only drives Ferraris and smokes cigars.”

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