The Conservatives are ready to settle with the government on pensions – but do not think they will find agreement with the sectional parties.
Conservative deputy leader Henrik Asheim meets VG to explain the starting point for reforming the pension system in Norway at the sandwich bar Mike’s Corner in Björvika, Oslo.
The location is particularly popular with young people – and what’s common among young customers is that they can expect to work up to ten years longer than today’s pensioners – for the same pension. At least if the proposals sent to the Storting are approved.
– Why is that fair?
– It is reasonable to consider that we are living longer and can work longer. Asheim says there must be better solutions for those who cannot.
He believes that questions about pensions should appeal to today’s youth because they will have the greatest impact on the changes that have just been made.
– I miss the multi-generational voices in the pension debate. Mostly pensioners are involved, but today’s youth are important to them.
The age limit will increase
This spring, a panel to look at the pension system made three key recommendations:
- Age limit should be increased in pension scheme
- Minimum benefits in the pension system should follow the general development of prosperity
- Ensure fair old age pension for disabled persons
Asheim considers all plans to be logical and reasonable.
– We are living longer and the mechanisms in pension reform already mean we have to work longer. Then it is right to follow the age limit.
– We are engaged in fixing very low pension. But for that we need to restrain ourselves and not spend thousands of pounds on various budget solutions.
He believes that in future the Storting should show moderation in annual budget solutions. There, in many cases, the minimum pension has been increased in various settlements without looking at the entire pension system. He will make changes to pensions through broader solutions that see the whole system in context.
– Proposals are good individually, but also increase total costs. Therefore, to afford them people must actually choose to work longer and not retire early.
Asheim wants a broader solution to Storing while fixing the pension system so that the decision can stand over time.
– I think a solution can be reached on the blocks. But I think SV and FRP are not available together. I’ve sat in many discussions with SV and Frp where they believe people don’t need to work anymore. The bill is then passed on to the next generation. We disagree with that.
– The supporting beam we have to work for a long time. If you don’t participate, the pension system will be disrupted. At the same time, he points out that projects on the table do not lead to savings – quite the opposite.
– With the new proposals, the pension system would cost the state 20 billion more in 2060 than without the changes. This is in addition to the costs per retiree from more aging and fewer workers.
– The ball is now in the government’s court. The right approach is to agree on blocks to ensure predictability and good retirement for today’s youth. That has value in itself.
I request the employers to step up
At the same time, it is increasingly difficult for older people to find new work, while people may have to steel themselves to work longer hours.
– Employers hire very few over 55s. They must be tough there. At the same time, when you reach the age of 60, you get an additional week off. So they are slightly more expensive to work with. Can you replace that week with skills development?
– How many staff over 55 do you have in the Conservative Party and the Conservative Party Parliamentary Group?
– I do not know. You can certainly turn that cannon against all bosses. The thing is, you can’t complain about a labor shortage at one point and not hire old people at the same time. People should not expire in Norwegian working life because of a lack of skills or because employers do not see the value in all that they can do.
Life has special age limits
In Norway, there are currently several occupational groups that have their own age limits for pensions, known as special age limits. The limit is 60 years, for example, in the armed forces and the police.
Asheim wants to put an end to that.
– Resignation is not only a right but also a duty. Retiring at 60 makes no sense. People have so much more potential that we are missing out on. I understand you can’t be a paratrooper when you’re over 60, but you can be a great parachute instructor.
– I will bring changes in special age limits in negotiations.
The chairman of the pension board, Christine Skogen Lund, is the CEO of Shipstead from VG.
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