The project’s aim is to investigate, discuss and assess what needs to happen in order for the intentions underpinning Norway’s municipality reform to be applicable for municipalities that are “involuntary small”. As in in other Nordic countries, the Norwegian government seeks to reform the municipalities. A structure of fewer, but larger municipalities is believed to solve issues such as vulnerability in high-competence services with few users (i.e. child welfare authorities, specialised psychological and pedagogical counselling, psychiatric health care services, substance abuse treatment etc.), democratic weakening of the country’s local democratic level and unnecessary obstacles for regionalisation of services, planning, economy and people’s everyday life. However, Norway is a country with a particular geography: dispersed settlements, significant distances, a distinct topography and climate that translate into lagging travel and uncertain travel punctuality. The Government’s reform distinguishes between municipalities that are “voluntary small” and “involuntary small”. The first category refers to municipalities situated in regions with little travel distance between larger population centres, while the latter category are reserved for municipalities in regions with great distances between larger population centres. A logical consequence of the recognition of municipalities that are “involuntary small” is that the reform’s intentions also needs to apply to these municipalities, as they are their geography prevents them to achieve these by amalgamations. The project recommends that a ceiling is established for island municipalities in the State’s revenue system for the municipalities, shielding these vulnerable and “involuntary small” municipalities from effects of reform-related revisions in the revenue system.
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