Has been stopped on the street, tipped off by strangers and met politicians for TV debate.
Barely two weeks have passed since then The online newspaper told the story of Thomas Reine (21) and his mother Kari Reine (63), who feared that Thomas would have the incentive pay cut following proposals from both the Solberg government and the Støre government.
The workers from Larvik have Down syndrome and receive disability benefits. The 21-year-old participates in a day care service under the auspices of the municipality where he does small jobs and earns 16 kroner per hour. Recently, for example, he has packed infection control equipment and set the table at a senior center.
On Monday afternoon, the message Thomas and Kari Reine came waiting for came: The proposed cut in the tax-free income for people on disability benefits will be removed.
Thus, the duo can unleash the jubilation:
– I’m crying. I feel a mixture of adrenaline and that I can relax a large backpack that I have carried in recent weeks, says guardian and mother Kari Reine.
Was discouraged by the response from the Tajik – then came the surprise
The last few weeks have been more eventful than usual for Kari and Thomas. After the story of Thomas became known, the messages from known and unknown have flowed in.
From what Kari Reine understands, many politicians saw the proposal to cut the allowance for the disabled in a new light after reading Thomas’ story. Sylvi Listhaug told about the 21-year-old from the rostrum in the Storting. Kjell Ingolf Ropstad mentioned him in a written question to the Minister of Labor and Social Inclusion Hadia Tajik (Labor Party).
The answer from Tajik to Ropstad arrived on Friday last week, and according to Kari Reine, there was little hope to be traced.
– When I read the answer from the Minister of Labor, I got the feeling that our progress had stopped. That is why it was so surprising that it was resolved right today, says Reine.
Facts about the changes in the state budget
These are the changes in the Labor Party’s government state budget after the agreement with SV:
* Lay-offs and the unemployed are entitled to holiday pay in the same way as they received last year. Around NOK 1.2 billion is set aside for this.
* There will be no 26th licensing round on the Norwegian shelf next year.
* The CO2 tax for the oil industry is rising sharply.
* The cut in free income for the disabled will be removed.
* The cut in spectacle support for children is reversed.
* Free half-day place in SFO for all first classes.
* Cuts in forest protection are stopped.
* An amendment to the law is proposed that child benefit should not be included in the social assistance for families.
* Public transport receives a crisis package of NOK 500 million.
– Has this case increased trust in politicians?
– Both yes and no. I expected that the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party would correct the cut from the Solberg government, and I lost confidence in them when they did not. We felt that they were fooling us. When Per Olav Lundteigen and the Center Party became aware of us, they took action early and told us that they would work to make changes. However, the Labor Party has kept the cards close to its chest, says Reine.
Enjoy being on TV
Reine brags about the actors she has been in contact with, who have helped to highlight Thomas’ story. The road has been short from the couch to the Storting.
– The most positive thing about this case is how an individual from the couch can contribute to change through contact with the media and politicians. I never thought we would end up in the Debate. The politicians I have talked to have been nice, constructive and committed, says Kari Reine.
Thomas has always been informed about what has been going on, and Kari has given him the news that he can keep the entire salary – in full.
– He probably does not understand the consequences and scope of what he has achieved. But he understands that this was important, says Kari Reine.
She says that Thomas was happy to get on TV and to be recognized on the street – both in Oslo and in Larvik. One day an unknown man tipped 200 kroner to him, and wrote that Thomas was a worker who deserved every penny.
The feedback has been exclusively positive. Now mother and guardian Kari are happy that the case is over.
– It’s a relief. I would like to have a glass of red wine to celebrate, but it comes with an extra cup of coffee, she says – slightly touched and laughable.