Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson presented the budget bill of Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s government for the year 2018 in a press conference today. RÚV reports the bill will allocate over ISK 15 billion (USD 143 million/EUR 121 million) in additional funding to healthcare.
The largest portion of healthcare funding, ISK 8.5 billion, will be allocated to hospital services. Drug purchases will receive an additional ISK 4.2 billion, while public health and subsidies of dental costs for elderly and disabled patients will receive ISK 1.9 billion and ISK 500 million respectively.
The government’s budget overview also states an increase in elderly unemployment benefits and child benefits. University and upper secondary education will also receive additional funding.
One aspect of the budget bill that has sparked criticism is ISK 500 million (USD 4.8m/EUR 4m) in funding allocated to a language technology project. The previous government’s bill, introduced in September, had only allocated ISK 60 billion to the project.
There will be an ISK 3.6 billion (USD 34.4m/EUR 29m) increase in funding of transportation and communications, while environmental funding will increase by ISK 1.7 billion (USD 16.2m/EUR 13.7m).
ISK 400 million (USD 3.8m/EUR 3.2m) will go toward an action plan to fight sexual offences, which are growing in public discourse under the movements #metoo and “Höfum hátt”.
The treasury’s revenue is expected to increase by ISK 26 billion (USD 248m/EUR 209m) in 2018 and a surplus of ISK 35 billion (USD 334m/EUR 282m) is expected.
The increase in revenue stems largely from tax reform measures, which are expected to yield ISK 39 billion (USD 372m/EUR 314m). At the same time, the bill expects dividends to decrease around ISK 21 billion (USD 200m/EUR 169m), the same amount as the previous government’s projections in September.
The previous government’s budget bill was introduced just last September, before the coalition’s unexpected dissolution. That budget had calculated an higher increase in revenue by ISK 7 billion and a larger surplus by ISK 9 billion compared to the current government’s budget.