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High earners and men – the winners of Sweden's new budget

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High earners and men – the winners of Sweden's new budget
It's the first main budget put forward by the new government. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
15:18 CEST+02:00
Swedish Finance minister Magdalena Andersson presented the national budget on Wednesday to much criticism – including from within her own party.

Reporters were flocking around the minister as she walked the 300 metres from the finance ministry to parliament in Stockholm, a tradition known as budgetpromenad ('the budget walk') in Swedish.

She fielded questions about how a Social Democrat minister – a party built on welfare and equality – could put forward a budget where the two winners that would benefit from tax cuts were men and high earners.

The budget includes tax cuts to the tune of 16 billion kronor, with only eight billion kronor for welfare services. Most of the tax cuts apply to high earners, although pensioners are also in line for tax breaks. Read more about the budget here.

"I stand by the budget on the whole, but as always when you cooperate broadly in politics you have to both give and take," Andersson told the TT newswire when asked what aspects of the budget she liked the least.

DON'T MISS: What the new budget means for international residents

The Liberals and the Centre Party, both of which for the first time had collaborated with the ruling Social Democrats and Greens on a main national budget, had mostly positive comments to give on Wednesday.

But no shortage of criticism was heard from the other opposition parties: the Christian Democrats, Moderates, Sweden Democrats and not least the Left Party, the Social Democrats' traditional budget partner which this year was squeezed out of negotiations following January's four-party deal.

Heavy criticism also came from within the Social Democrat party itself, who found the abolishing of the austerity tax for high earners a bitter pill to swallow. "You're pouring money over the rich," said Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, head of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) for blue-collar workers.

Andersson readily admitted that the move, pushed through by the Liberals, was not the Social Democrats' preferred choice. But she argued that on the other hand, the budget also included investment in police and the justice system, municipalities and pensioners.

"Our elderly will get more money in their wallet but it will also be possible to hire more nurses and teachers," she told TT.

READ ALSO: Does Sweden's tax system really screw the rich?

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