The Danish government has presented its proposals for the 2018 budget under the overarching theme of making Denmark ‘A safe and cohesive country’.
Four main priorities
Broadly speaking, the initiatives fall under four categories: more money for the health sector and the elderly; security and safety; a varied and protected nature; and a more cohesive country.
The government intends to set aside 500 million kroner per annum to improve the key areas of the welfare state, such as the health service and care for the elderly. This is on top of the money already earmarked through agreements with municipalities and the regions.
The police will also benefit from greater resources, not only by having their strength beefed up, but also through money being set aside to toughen up sentences for extreme violence and burglary, as well as an additional 60 million kroner to fight gang criminality.
Infrastructure projects, particularly roads, will benefit to the tune of 410 million kroner from 2018-2021. The suggested projects are intended to make life easier for motorists across the entire country.
On the education front, 70 million has been earmarked to strengthen the free school and private school sector. Publicly-financed research will also receive more money so that in 2018, in total, 22 billion kroner will be spent on research projects – 1 percent of GDP.
The tax collecting system SKAT is also due to be enhanced. Here, the government intends to spend 500 million kroner in 2018 and, all in all, from 2018-2021 the total amount will be 5.5 billion kroner. The money is intended to restructure and strengthen SKAT, especially its advisory and control functions.
As well as these priorities, the government intends to continue to move state jobs out of Copenhagen and into the provinces and extend some of the measures that allow people to claim tax deductions on some of the money spent on services and work carried out on their houses.