Morning Briefing – Friday, September 20

The Copenhagen Post’s daily round-up of the front pages and other major Danish news stories

Unemployment benefit reform “works”
Despite a general downturn in the economy, the number of unemployment benefit recipients finding work has risen since the government shortened benefit eligibility periods earlier this year. Statistics from think-tank Kraka show 33 percent of unemployed find work in the final months of their two-year eligibility period. Prior to the reform being implemented in January, the number of people finding work after two years was at 14 percent. “The reform works,” said Kraka economist Andreas Højbjerre. – Jyllands-Posten

SEE RELATED: Opinion | Unemployment benefit reform runs counter to government growth and productivity goals

Oil for trains programme worries
The opposition and oil industry analysts are calling on the government to re-think its plan to increase taxes on North Sea oil producers as a way to raise money to invest in railways. “You just can’t be taxing companies so much that they decide to leave the country,” Lars Barfoed, the Konservative leader, said. Barfoed’s statement came after US-based oil company Hess yesterday became the second firm to announce that it would it not seek exploration licences as a result of the changed tax rules, which are hoped to generate an additional 28 billion kroner. The tax minister, Holger Nielsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said he expected other companies to be able to take over the vacancies. – DR Nyheder

SEE RELATED: AmCham: Denmark too expensive for international investors

Property tax uncertainty affects spending plan
The government’s long-range economic strategy could wind up needing to be reworked after it was revealed that it is based partly on property tax assessments that in 70 percent of cases have proven to be wrong. The prime minister and the economy minister have both said they support a refund for property owners who have overpaid, while Torsten Andersen, a former economic advisor to the government, said the amount of money the state could expect to collect in property taxes was now “uncertain”. “The government could even wind up having to decide whether to make up the lost revenue someplace else,” Andersen said. – Politiken

SEE RELATED: Government’s 2020 vision

Easier to obtain small-business loans
Banks are increasingly taking steps to make it easier for small businesses to obtain loans. In the most recent step, Danske Bank announced it would follow the practice of other major banks and seek to have 70 percent of small business loans approved locally, compared with just 30 percent today. Danske Bank spokesperson Lars Mørch said the move signalled a return to decentralised decision-making after a period in which the recession had forced banks to focus more closely on numbers than on clients. – Erhverv & Økonomi 

SEE RELATED: Here comes the recovery

Students more interested in play than homework
After-school programmes designed to help kids with their homework go largely unused, according to headteachers, who estimate that less than ten percent of students make use of the voluntary help. Teachers bemoaned the lack of interest, while students themselves pointed to the timing of when the help was given as part of the problem. “It’s right there when everyone else is going home, and who wants to do homework when you can play with your friends?” said one student representative. The national school reform passed earlier this year requires schools to provide help with homework starting in 2014, but participation will remain voluntary. – Berlingske

SEE RELATED: With children back to school, parents wary of upcoming reform

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