19 May: The City Government will prioritise 1.9 billion NOK for additional costs linked to the Corona outbreak
Press release: The City of Oslo’s financial position is very uncertain as a result of the Corona outbreak. This is why the City Government is prioritising 1.9 billion NOK in its revised budget for 2020, to cover additional costs and loss of revenue as a result of the pandemic. At the same time, the City Government is prioritising funds for activities and jobs to reduce unemployment in Oslo.
Information about measures taken against the spread of the Corona virus is changed on an ongoing basis. This means that the information in the press release may be outdated.
Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour) said, «The Corona outbreak has had major consequences for our financial flexibility. We still don’t know what our total revenues or costs will be by the end of 2020. The only responsible way to manage this is to prioritise substantial sums as a buffer, to ensure that the City of Oslo can be run safely and responsibly».
On Tuesday 19th May, the City Government will present its proposal for a revised budget for 2020 for the City of Oslo. In the revised budget, the City’s expenditures are adjusted to accommodate developments over the last half year. In the budget proposal, the City Government is prioritsing nearly 1.9 billion NOK to cover additional costs as a result of the Corona outbreak.
- Expenditures due to the corona outbreak in March and April (315 million NOK)
- Expenditures as a result of the corona outbreak after April (735 million NOK)
- Loss of revenue from charges for kindergartens and activity schools (AKS) (180 million NOK)
- Loss of revenue from ticket sales from public transport / Ruter (700 million NOK)
At the same time some projects have been taken out of the original 2020-2021 budgets, which were important in the City Government’s policy platform. This includes free activity schools (AKS) for 2nd grade pupils in the City Districts of St. Hanshaugen, Frogner, Ullern, Vestre Aker, Nordre Aker, Østensjø og Nordstrand, and introducing free lunch in the colleges (videregående skole). The level of activities in the Car-Free City Life programme is also reduced.
«Oslo’s revised budget reflects a situation of major uncertainty, about how hard and for how long the Corona outbreak will impact the City’s finances. That’s why we were surprised when the National Government confidently stated that local governments had already been compensated for increased costs and loss of revenue. As we see it, this is an equation which we still don’t know the answer to. We still don’t know the full and combined effects of tax failure, loss of revenue and increasing costs linked to the corona-pandemic», said the Vice Mayor for Finance, Einar Wilhelmsen (Green Party).
Activity and Job Programmes
In its revised budget, the City Government is starting a number of programmes to try to reduce unemployment which, by the last count (12th May) was 10.6 % with 64,000 people partly or completely out of work in Oslo.
«We are all impacted by the corona outbreak. But the crisis hasn’t hit everyone equally. Some people have to live with much bigger financial losses than other. The numbers who are unemployed have been at record levels during the last weeks. So it has been essential to set up targeted programmes, and to try to reduce unemployment», said Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour).
The budget also includes programmes for children and young people, for sports and for the voluntary sector.
Vice Mayor for Education Inga Marte Thorkildsen (Socialist Left) explains, «We have diverted funding from the Summer-schools, which had to be cancelled to stop infections, towards preventative measures in our work with youth and children. The funding will support local summer-school activities, leisure centres, sports and cultural activities, as well as summer jobs for young people. It is important to prevent social exclusion, to support activities and to give young people valuable work experience and incomes during the summer».