Norway’s Finance Minister hints at salmon tax amendments

© Senterpartiet (Sp)
Trygve Slagsvold Vedum

Norwegian Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has suggested that he is open to amending his controversial ground rent tax plans for the salmon industry.

Vedum, who is also leader of the Centre Party (also known as the Liberal Party) in the Labour led coalition government, made the disclosure in an interview with the left-wing news site Klasskampen (“Class struggle”).

However, he did not spell out what changes he is considering. There is speculation he could raise the production threshold at which the tax is paid, possibly as high as 10,000 tonnes.

The Minister said he hopes the SV or Socialist Left party, also part of the coalition, will go along with any changes he might propose.

He said there had been “a lot of noise” over his tax proposals which were no longer part of the normal budget.

Full details of how the tax will operate will not now come into effect until the spring. But the country does need some form of a basic rent tax, he insisted.

Vedum’s proposals have now been submitted for general consultation, with a deadline of 3 January.

His comments to Klasskampen is the first indication that the government is feeling industry and political pressure over the ground rent proposal.

Major companies including Mowi, Cermaq and SalMar, have shelved or cancelled investment plans worth billions of krone and which would have brought in a great deal of extra tax revenue.

The Centre Party is influential in many coastal areas where fish farming takes place and its local mayors have strongly registered their opposition to a ground rent tax.

The shares of Mowi, Salmar and other big salmon players rose between 3.9% and 6% on the Oslo Bors following the reports that Vedum may ease back on the tax proposals.