Norway tax plan in tatters as four parties walk out

Attempts to get a broad political settlement on the Norwegian Government’s salmon tax plan have all but collapsed, despite an offer to drop the base rate to 30%

Most of the main opposition parties have withdrawn from talks leaving the Labour-Centre party coalition plan up in the air.

Only the Socialist Left (SV) and Red (Rodt) parties are left in the talks, and they are highly unlikely to vote in favour of the industry.

The coalition now faces the dilemma of sticking to its guns or making further concessions to try to win back the other parties.

Centre Party spokesman Geir Pollestad said: “We gave them an offer of significant reductions in tax. We have proposed to reduce the rate from 35% to 30%, but they have refused this.

“If they come up with better idea for the Storting , then we are open to it.”

The final vote is scheduled for the end of this month.

Pollestad accused the Conservatives and Christian Democrats of saddling the industry with the higher tax rate of 35% instead of the 30% on offer.

He added: “We are going to go for the proposal that is in the (current) bill which we believe is a balanced solution. We want to achieve a broad settlement, which is why we offered to enter into negotiations.

First to leave were the Greens on Monday , followed by the main opposition Conservative (Høyre ) Party and later by the Liberals and Christian Democrats.

The right-of-centre Progressive or Frp Party decided from the outset not to take part.

Conservative party spokesman Helge Orten said it has been a “messy process” from the beginning with the government insisting on introducing a retrospective tax (it has been in force since 1 January) which had been met by large protests along the coast.

He added that in its current form, the tax would produce four times the revenue the government estimated when it first unveiled the plan.

Labour spokesman Eigil Knutsen argued that the government had already made a number of concessions, including cutting the rate and allowing tax deductions on certain costs.

Seafood Norway CEO Geir Ove Ystmark believes the talks have totally collapsed.

Salmon farming shares fell sharply on the Oslo Stock Exchange following news of the breakdown.

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