Seafood Norway brands new tax plan ‘disappointing’
Employers’ organisation Seafood Norway has described the latest version of the country’s proposed salmon tax as “disappointing”.
The Labour-Centre party coalition government secured a deal yesterday after the Liberals (Venstre) and the single seat Patient Focus party broke ranks with the main opposition parties and gave their approval to a reduced rate of 25%. The minority parties also secured a number of environmental concessions.
The new rate is a sizeable drop from the original 40% rate announced in the budget last September. But Seafood Norway believes there are still major weaknesses with the latest plan.
The organisation’s CEO Geir Ove Ystmark said: “The model is bureaucratic, demanding for the companies to administer, and it is a tax that is introduced retroactively. We are therefore disappointed that Venstre and Patient Focus have joined the model.
“The tax pressure will of course be less by increasing the tax by 25% than by increasing the tax by 35% or 48%. But in any case, the overall tax burden is still too high for the coastal business community.”
He added it was good that the other opposition groups including the Conservatives, Progressives and Christian Democrats were continuing to hold out, providing an opportunity to change things after the next general election in 2025.
Most of Norway’s major salmon companies have yet to comment on the latest salmon tax proposal, but Grieg Seafood said today that while the new 25% rate was significantly better than the original 40% rate, it needed more time to study the details when they become public.
Grieg has put all of its Norwegian investment plans on hold, and the company has now said these will be re-evaluated when it has examined the tax plan.
The coalition majority in Wednesday’s Storting (parliament) vote is said to be wafer thin with the Socialist Left (SV) party, which normally backs the government on budget issues, very angry. It had wanted a 48% rate and also for cod farmers to be included.
SV spokesperson Kari Elisabeth Kaski described the deal as “miserable” and said her party could not support the government.
The agreement also includes a reduced wealth tax discount (affecting privately owned salmon farmers) from 75% to 50%, more money for fish farming host communities and various environmental improvements.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said the new tax rate will be fixed and it will therefore provide predictability for the salmon farming industry.