Denmark finalises 2022 budget agreement

A one-off investment in the health service, free dental services for young people and the end of a tax subsidy for home improvement are among prominent details of Denmark’s 2022 budget.

Government and party representatives present Denmark's 2022 budget agreement in Copenhagen on December 6th.
Government and party representatives present Denmark's 2022 budget agreement in Copenhagen on December 6th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s 2022 budget agreement was presented on Monday morning after a short delay on finalising next year’s finance law.

The government, along with its left wing allies Red Green Alliance, Social Liberals and Socialist People’s Party; and minor parties Alternative and the Christian Democrats, presented the budget on Monday.

“We are protecting our welfare. Money has been set aside for our schools, children and elderly,” Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said according to broadcaster DR.

Young people aged 18-21 years will receive free dental care under the new budget, while a popular tax subsidy for home improvements, the håndværkerfradrag, is to be scrapped.

Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) lead political spokesperson Mai Villadsen called free dental care for young people “a strong right of welfare”.

Sofie Carsten Nielsen, leader of the Social Liberals, said “we are dropping the building subsidy that has ignited the already overheated housing and construction market”.

Meanwhile, a limit is to be set on the number of children per class in grades 0-2 at state elementary schools.

No more than 26 children will be allowed in a class.

Following weekend negotiations, the parties behind the deal earlier revealed that it would include a significant one-off investment in the public health service, which has come under increasing strain due to factors including the Covid-19 pandemic and industrial disputes, notably between nurses and the government.

The deal means a billion kroner has been set aside for additional spending in extraordinary circumstances, and will be used to retain health sector staff and boost hospital capacity.

The money is to be distributed to the regional authorities who can decide how to spend it, DR writes. As such, it is currently unclear how the spending will resolve issues such as treatment backlogs and staff shortages.

In the budget, the parties also pledge to double energy production from wind farms by 2030, compared to current levels.

Parliament usually votes through the next year’s budget in December, but proposals are normally tabled in early autumn – the original proposal for 2022 was presented at the end of August

This is because Denmark is ruled by minority governments or coalitions, which must seek and negotiate support from other parties to pass laws.

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Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.