"The Government is investing in the future of the entire country, not just central regions. We promised the regions more money in the Soria-Moria declaration and we have kept this promise in every budget year," says Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Liv Signe Navarsete. "This is a matter of values for us. The local and district policy measures aim to utilise resources all over Norway, and contribute to creation of value, jobs and welfare where people live."
The county authorities are in charge of NOK 2.11 billion, or more than 79 per cent of the special funds allocated to local and regional policy measures. This includes the compensation funds for differentiated employer's contribution.
The reports from the county municipalities for 2011 show that half the funds were allocated to business and industry development, in particular to the further development of established enterprises. Next on the list were infrastructure and community development.
«The county authorities perform important work to achieve the national goals in local and regional policy,» says Minister Navarsete.
Measures in the 2013 state budget:
Industrial development and entrepreneurship
The business park programme: The Government has proposed that the Ministry of Local and Regional Development will allocate NOK 43 million to the SIVA (Industrial Development Corporation of Norway) business park programme in 2013, an increase of NOK 3 million from 2012. The programme will contribute to the development of new knowledge-based industry jobs in the regions.
Incubation: From 2002, SIVA has been developing various incubator programmes aimed at entrepreneurs from different types of business environments. These efforts were merged in 2012 into the joint Incubation programme. The Government has proposed that the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development will allocate NOK 35 million to the programme in 2013, an increase of NOK 5.7 million from 2012.
VRI and the Northern Research Effort: VRI – Regional R&D and innovation measures – make up the Research Council of Norway's regional innovation efforts. The programme aims to promote interaction between businesses, research communities and public enterprises in the regions. The Northern Research Effort is a programme under the auspices of the Research Council designed to strengthen and further develop research expertise in Northern Norway. The Government has proposed that the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development will allocate NOK 44.2 million to VRI, and NOK 40 million to the Northern Research Effort in 2013. This represents an increase of NOK 5.2 million and NOK 5 million, respectively, from 2012.
Housing construction in the regions: The Government has proposed allocating allocate more than NOK 20 million to a subsidies scheme to stimulate an increased supply of various types of housing in municipalities with small and uncertain housing markets.
Norwegian business and industry in the bio-economy: The Government has proposed that the Ministry of Local Government and District Development will allocate NOK 5 million to Innovation Norway for the development of the programme "Norwegian business and industry in the bio-economy in 2013. In addition, Innovation Norway will use previously allocated funds to reinforce this effort. The goals include exploiting more commercial opportunities e.g. finding renewable alternatives to petroleum as an input factor in a number of industrial products.
Attractive local communities and good services
Livecentive: The Government has proposed allocating NOK 35 million to the Livecentive subsidies scheme. The programme aims to support local and regional development projects that promote the incentives to live in every part of Norway, and obtain new knowledge of what such incentives can entail.
Local community development in the municipalities (LUK): The Government has proposed allocating NOK 30 million to the measure in 2013. The effort, which is implemented by the county authorities, aims to develop the municipalities' work to plan, mobilise, cooperate and implement development measures, and thereby contribute to more attractive local communities.
The MERKUR programme and development and investment support for regional shops: NOK 41.7 million has been allocated to these measures in 2013. Some of the funds will be used to develop new concepts for how grocery shops can strengthen their positions as key service providers, e.g. as a social arena for local people. The Ministry wants to modernise and strengthen local shops and contribute to the access to fuel in the regions. Local shops are important service providers in the districts.
The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, media contact telephone: +47 22 24 25 00.