SHARE
COPY LINK

MONEY

EXPLAINED: What’s in the Danish government’s budget proposal?

Denmark's government on Monday published a proposed budget for 2021 that dramatically scales back the heavy spending of recent years in the hope of cooling the country's overheating economy. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What's in the Danish government's budget proposal?
Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen arrives at a press conference on the new budget proposal. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

What is the budget proposal? 

According to the Danish constitution, the annual budget is framed as a law, finansloven, or “the finance law”, which must be passed by a majority in parliament.

When combined with Denmark’s tradition of parliamentary agreements, often across the political divide, this means the budget normally contains funding for proposals and measures desired by parties outside the government. 

The process starts with the government making a “budget proposal”, before entering talks with all the other political parties during which time the budget can change quite substantially. 

The parliament normally votes through the next year’s budget in December, so there’s still a lot of time for talks. 

READ ALSO: 

What has the Danish government presented in this year’s budget proposal? 

The government intends to spend about 790 billion kroner this year, a sharp reduction from the roughly 1,222 billion it spent in 2021. 

Finance minister Nicolai Wammen said at a press conference on Monday that he was proposing “a tight and responsible budget”, intended to “lift the foot from the accelerator to ensure a long, strong recovery”. 

Denmark’s economy is expected to grow 3.8 percent this year, the highest level in 15 years, and the finance ministry in the economic analysis accompanying the budget said it now expected house prices to rise 13.1 percent this year, up from a forecast of 11.2 percent in May. 

A less expansionary budget for 2022 should act as a drag on Denmark’s growth, and hopefully go some way to tempering the rate of inflation.

What measures stand out? 

  • Covid-19 ‘war chest’. The government is adding four billion kroner to the Covid-19 ‘war chest’ set up last year to cover unforeseen expenses connected to the Covid-19 epidemic, something Wammen said was being included “in the hope that we will not need it”.
  • Housing job scheme. The government wants to return the boligjobordningen, or “housing job scheme”, to “normal levels”. The scheme gives tax breaks to those who employ cleaners, babysitters, nannies, window cleaners, gardeners, as well as for home improvements like replacing windows, insulation, installing solar cells, and painting outside walls. 
  • Labour shortages. The government will allocate 35m annually in 2022 and 2023 to fight labour shortages in Denmark, by measures to “support a better match in the labor market and strengthen the recruitment opportunities to get everyone involved”. 
  • Prison service. The government wants to set aside 240m in 2022 to improve the prison service. ‘
  • Vulnerable people. The government is setting aside 840m for initiatives aimed at helping the most vulnerable groups in society, including the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, and vulnerable children and adults.

How much can the other parties change the budget?  

The budget proposes creating a 1.2bn kroner pot of money which other political parties can draw on to fund for their own priorities, down from 1.5bn kroner ahead of the 2021 budget, and 2.1bn kroner ahead of the 2020 budget. 

The government’s support parties have said that they want this pot to be expanded, and Wammen in the press conference said that the government would consider using some of the funds earmarked for the Covid-19 war chest for other parties’ priorities. 

How have the other parties reacted so far? 

The government’s support parties, the Social Liberal, Socialist Left, and Red-Green Alliance parties, have criticised the budget for being somewhat lacklustre. 

“We are not committed opponents to what we’ve just seen but we believe it is unambitious,” said Lisbeth Bech-Nielsen, the Socialist Left party’s finance spokesperson. “We think that it lacks a welfare focus.” 

The party wants a maximum of 24 pupils per class in primary school, among other measures. 

The Social Liberal party, on the other hand, want more money for climate measures. 

“We want to do something good for the climate and take some steps towards our 70 percent goal,” the party’s finance spokesperson Andreas Steenberg said.  

Mai Villadsen, from the Red Green Alliance agreed that the government was not doing enough to reduce Denmark’s impact on the climate. 

“The government us completely overlooking the green transition with this budget bill,” she said. “Nature and the climate are in crisis. Investment in green transition is needed now – not just after climate change has swept over us.” 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

MONEY

How to save money as a student in Denmark

Life on a student budget doesn't have to be tough in Denmark -- follow these tips to get the most out of the experience at a low price.

How to save money as a student in Denmark

Food

One of the biggest challenges as a student is working out how much money you need to dedicate to the food shop every month, and it can be easy to misjudge, run out of funds and end up living off Denmark’s popular money-saving dish — ketchup on pasta — for weeks.

Denmark has higher food prices than many other countries, which have only got more expensive in recent months, so finding the right balance can be a challenge, but there are a few tricks you can use to make it easier.

Once you have your student card, after you’ve enrolled at your university, you can use it at many restaurants and cafes to get discounts, (studierabat) including the big chains like Burger King and Bar’Sushi

 
It’s worth keeping in mind that you might be asked need to show an indskrivningsbekræftelse — confirmation of current enrolment — along with your student card. These can normally be downloaded digitally from your college or university’s self-service platform and saved onto your smart phone or printed.
If you want a unique dining experience in Copenhagen, it’s worth trying out Fællesspisning at Absalon, a former church turned community events venue in the Vesterbro district.
 
Absalon offers a communal dining initiative, where everyone pays the same to eat the same vegetarian meal together. An evening meal costs 50 kroner from Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday you get two dishes for 100 kroner. Tickets are sold online and there are often events on after the meal, which starts at 6pm. Lunch and breakfast is also available at the location but not as communal dining. 
 
 
On a student budget you won’t be eating out every day of course, but there are ways to save money on groceries. Through the app Too Good To Go, you can buy unsold food from bakeries, cafes and restaurants at their closing times, which saves on food waste, as well as your money. All you have to do is download the app, look for surplus food in your local area, arrange a pick up time, pay through the app (as little as 24 kroner) and collect. 

Menucard offers discounts at cafes, bars, restaurants if you work for a company that is a member of the scheme.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) gives you a 35 percent discount on your first HelloFresh meal kit delivery and 10 percent on 25 orders after that.

Coffee

Late nights are a guarantee at university, and in that scenario, coffee can be a necessity. In Denmark it doesn’t always come cheap, where you can easily pay 35 kroner or more for a cappuccino or latte.

One of Denmark’s biggest bakery chains, Lagkagehuset, offers students a 30 percent discount on all warm drinks. If you enjoy bread and pastry, it’s also worth downloading their app where you can earn points every time you spend, to then use in the bakery.

For an even cheaper cup of takeaway coffee, try 7-Eleven where anyone with a student card gets 25 percent off any size of coffee. A student card will also get you a bottle of Coca-Cola, Pepsi or Faxe Kondi for 8 kroner. 

The coffee chain Espresso House has an app you can download to pay for your coffee, which means you get 10 percent off, as well as other extra discounts and every 10th coffee for free.

If you’ve got a favourite local coffee shop, it’s well worth checking if they have any offers for students as well. For example, the Blue Bike Cafe in Copenhagen, offers a 10 percent student discount on all food and drink and Lima Aarhus has a 15 percent student discount on the entire bill, as well as 25 percent student discount on coffee every Thursday.

Travel

Denmark has a travel youth card calledungdomskort, which allows people aged 16 to 19 or in SU-eligible higher education to travel for free on bus, metro or train to and from their place of study. You can get the ungdomskort as a card or an app.

READ ALSO: SU: Can foreigners receive Denmark’s state student grant?

Other student discounts are available through the scheme, such as 20 percent off when you travel by train between regions, or travelling at a child fare rate outside your own zone area on Zealand, Lolland, Falster and Møn. DSB also offers discount prices on its orange tickets to those under the age of 26 with an ungdomskort.

With some of Denmark’s coastlines being difficult to reach by public transport, you may want to rent a car.

Car rental company Hertz offers a 15-20 percent student discount on their smaller cars as long as you are at least 19 years old and have held a driving license for 1 year.

Going further afield? Interrail Global Pass allows you to travel in up to 33 European countries for a fixed, low price for up to three months and Hotels.com gives students a 10 percent discount.

SAS offer discounts on flights on their Youth tickets, if you’re under the age of 26.  The booking agent Kilroy also offers discounts to students with the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). A student card also gets you a 10-15 percent discount on Flixbus which is a money-saving way to travel across Denmark and Europe by bus.

Sport

Watching a Danish football match is surprisingly affordable.

If you’re studying in the country’s second-biggest city and university town Aarhus, students and young people under 18 can buy an AGF season ticket for just 49 kroner a month.

In Aalborg, a ticket to watch AaB costs just 80 kroner for students. These discounted tickets can only be bought at the ticket booths at Aalborg Portland Park, which opens 1-2 hours before the start of the match.

Students are able to watch one of Denmark’s best football teams, FC Midtjylland, as well as the handball team HC Midtjylland and ice hockey team Herning Blue Fox, for just 15 kroner a ticket, thanks to a collaboration with Education Herning.

If you’d rather get involved in actually playing a sport, many amateur clubs and teams, as well as gyms and classes, have reduced rates for students, making it an affordable activity to try. University sports societies offer a range of sports usually at cheaper prices than classes open to the general public.

Culture

Theatres, museums, cinemas, concert halls can all give discounts if you show your student card. 

At Aarhus Theatre, students and people under 25 can purchase tickets to any performance on the grand stage at just 85 kroner.

An annual pass to the National Gallery of Denmark costs 195 kroner for those under the age of 27 or 95 kroner for a single ticket.

Musikhuset Aarhus has a ‘Klub Hund’ for 18-28 year olds, where tickets priced at 100 kroner are available the day before certain performances and sent to your mobile phone.

Young opera at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen (Det Kongelige Teater) is an offer for everyone between 15 and 30 years old to see four selected performances at the opera for 155 kroner per ticket. There are alternative introductions and cheap food and drinks too.

You may also want to keep up with Danish news while you’re spending time in the country. The Local offers a 50 percent student discount on Membership, giving you unlimited access to all our content for just €24.99 a year, reduced from €49.99. Find out more here.

SHOW COMMENTS