The people of Norway enjoy one of the most generous welfare systems along with the world’s highest standard of living, according to a recent UN survey. However some say there is much room for improvement.
There seems to be widespread agreement that the government should spend more but the country is split over what to splash its cash on. The campaign leading up to Monday’s parliamentary election has been dominated by the question of how much extra revenue from record oil prices should be spent. The centre-left Red-Green alliance, led by former Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, wants more welfare spending. However the centre-right administration of Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik is promising more tax cuts as a way to boost steady growth. He says the country can afford to give something back to its citizens as it is the world’s third-largest crude oil exporter. The opposition claims such a move will only favour the rich. It wants to spend money on job creation, the elderly and education. Foreign policy has not been a top issue in these elections but observers say Norway looks like it will stay out of the European Union, whoever wins.