chapter  2
20 Pages

Family welfare, which policy? Norway's road to child allowances

In 1946 the Norwegian Parliament, 'Stortinget', decided by a unanimous vote to give allowances to every family with more than one child. Single parents were to receive payment from the first child. There was no debate, since this was considered by the Speaker to be more 'dignified')

The introduction of child allowances was the first social reform after the war. One important feature was new in Norwegian social policy: it was universal. The target group was not limited to a particular social class either as regards income or as regards contributions to a social insurance scheme tied to the labour market. The allowance was given to all children and families as of right. This innovation has led to the reform being regarded as the first welfare state measure in Norway.