Salmon tax betraying Norwegian youth, says Tromsø newspaper

A leading regional newspaper in northern Norway has launched a strong attack on the government over its salmon tax plans, accusing it of depriving local people of opportunities to progress.

Although the salmon tax issue was approved by the Norwegian parliament at the end of May, the debate and controversy continues to rumble on

The journal, iTromso (formerly known as Bladet Tromsø), has posted a special leading article on its website in which it says if young people are to remain in the north value creation must play a major role.

“The government’s tax increases drain our most important industry and put a stop to new investment, jobs and opportunities,” it warns.

It was one of the messages former Conservative prime minister Erna Solberg received from the local business community when she travelled around northern Norway recently.

iTromso also disclosed that the large shipyard company Hamek, based in Harstad had lost 11 large contracts overnight as fish farming investments were put on hold. Jobs are now in danger of disappearing.

The paper said: “Overall, figures from Sjømat Norge (Seafood Norway) show that investments of NOK 40 billion (£3bn) have been postponed, cancelled or scaled back as a result of the ground rent tax.

“These investments could create hundreds of jobs in Northern Norway and provide millions in increased tax revenue for the municipalities.

“The aquaculture industry has enormous ripple effects in Northern Norway. A tax meant to take salmon farmers trickles down to suppliers, local jobs and cornerstone businesses,” it adds.

The piece continues: “The result is fewer jobs, less investment and fewer kroner in the municipal coffers to spend on schools, care for the elderly and transport.

“Although the aquaculture industry has experienced enormous growth, it is not without challenges.

“The consequences for the environment such as escapes, lice and pollution must be resolved. It is then a paradox that many of the politicians who fight against the aquaculture industry also contribute to depriving the industry of the capital that is needed to be able to solve the same challenges.

“It is through new technology and innovation that we can solve the environmental impacts and carry out the green transition that we are going through. If you deprive the industry of capital to do this, you will not solve any challenges. Rather, you create more.

“Business life is clear. They need predictability, room for development and responsive politicians who see the problems they face. The Conservatives want lower taxes for the business sector and play on a team with the job creators. Then the current basic interest tax must be removed.”

iTromso concludes: “The Labour Party and the Centre Party’s tax on Northern Norway’s most important industry is destroying jobs in coastal communities. If we are to keep the welfare state in the future, we must have a tax system that ensures that the money is not taken from the districts and eventually sent south or abroad.

“Our region must take advantage of the opportunities if young people are to have an exciting future and live in Northern Norway.”


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