26 March: The City of Oslo can lose billions as a result of the corona-crisis

Note: 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 This means that the information in the press release may be outdated. You will find updated information on the web page Corona virus: Information on the Corona virus and measures that have been implemented in the city of Oslo.[1]

Read this press release in Norwegian[2]

Since 28 February, the City government has been on emergency alert, and since 11 March this has been at the highest level. The City officials release updates about steps taken to prevent further spreading of the Coronavirus.

According to Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour), ̋The Corona-crisis is giving the City of Oslo much higher costs and reduced income, and the national government has not yet given a guarantee that local authorities will receive compensation for additional expenditure and loss of revenue. I am very concerned that the local government sector in Norway is facing an economic crisis, which will force us to make cuts in kindergartens, schools, elderly care, climate measures and local services. ̏

News from the last 24 hours

  • The City Governments letter to the Minister for Finance: local authorities must get compensation for the Coronacrisis
  • Follow meetings of the City Council on internet
  • The City of Oslo provides digital culture services

Local authorities must get compensation for the corona-crisis

Today, Oslo’s City Government has sent a letter to Norway’s Finance Minister, Jan Tore Sanner. In the letter, the City of Oslo expresses concern for the economic situation, and expects clear signals from the national government on how local authorities will be compensated for extra expenditure, reduced tax revenues and loss of service charges.

Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen (Labour) said,  ̋The corona-crisis is giving local authorities additional costs, both long-term and short-term, at the same time as our revenues from tax and service charging are heavily reduced. For the City of Oslo, this can lead to losses of several billion NOK this year. Secure financing is essential for local authorities to be able to provide good services to our citizens, also after the most accute crisis is over. ̏

According to Vice Mayor for Finance, Einar Wilhelmsen (Green Party),  ̋Local authorities are a large and important part of the Norwegian economy, and one out of five workers are employed in local government. Local authorities are also major purchasers of goods and services. It is important that our financial uncertainty doesn’t put a stop to tendering processes. Local authorities can lead by maintaining high levels of activity in our projects, which will benefit all businesses. But this assumes that we have sufficient financing. A financially weakened local government sector will spread quickly across the whole national economy. ̏

When the City of Oslo’s institutions for the public, such as swimming pools, museums, public transport, schools and kindergartens close, our income is reduced. Combined with a substantial loss of revenue from the toll roads and ticketing for public transport, this reduces the income by several hundred million NOK every month (up to 100 million EUROS). So far, the national government has only indicated that they will compensate for the loss of user-charging for kindergartens and after school programs. 

According to Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen,   ̋Unless we get new proposals very soon, we will have to start cutting back on all non-essential activities, to protect the City of Oslo’s finances. ̏

Read the letter from the Office of the Governing Mayor to the Minister of Finance (PDF 0,1MB)[3]

Follow City Council meetings on the internet

The public and press can follow open political meetings on line. This includes the City Council and its committees.

  • Go to kommuneTV to follow the meetings directly or in a recorded version.
  • An overview of the public meetings can be found in the digital calender (at eInnsyn). There you will also find the agendas and minutes, including decisions taken, from each meeting (in Norwegian).

Providing digital culture services

Oslo’s many cultural institutions are staying closed, but we are happy to say that digital cultural experiences and activities are being produced. Here are some of the venues which can broaden your cultural horizons from home:

  • Visit the Munch Museum’s digital collection, or the Munch Museum collection at Google Arts and Culture. On Friday 27th March, at 13.00, the Munch Museum will open its doors to a live, digital tour, which will show some of the important works from Edvard Munch’s life.
  • Take part in a Pop Quiz at the «Popsenter»
  • Be inspired by digital tips from the Public Library (Deichman). Here you will find podcasts, soundbooks, e-books and films.
  • Visit the City of Oslo’s art collection
  • Visit the Vigeland Museum’s digital collection
  • Check out some art projects from the Oslo Biennale
  • Explore the culture calender for Visit Oslo, which gives an overview of events to be streamed, as well as other activities in Oslo

Press contact

media@byr.oslo.kommune.no[4] / +47 99 28 90 90[5] (not SMS)

 

Further navigation

All status reports from Oslo city council on coronavirus outbreak[6] 

Everything on the coronavirus outbreak[7]

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