SHARE
COPY LINK

POLITICS

Sweden’s spring budget: 45 billion kronor cash boost for healthcare, jobs and more

Sweden on Thursday announced its spring budget proposal in full, with measures to help the healthcare sector, job market and other areas such as climate policy amounting to 45 billion kronor ($5.3 billion) in total.

Sweden's spring budget: 45 billion kronor cash boost for healthcare, jobs and more
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson presented the spring budget on Thursday. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Most of the measures are linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, with money set aside for the healthcare sector and business support, but there were also cash boosts announced to support rural areas, climate policy, and law and order.

“This is a budget for how we can work, together, to get Sweden out of the crisis,” said Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson at the presentation of the measures on Thursday. This comes amid a rise in newly reported cases and intensive care admissions for Covid-19, with Sweden one of the European countries worst hit by a third wave of the virus.

She said the government was expecting that Sweden will lift many of its coronavirus measures this autumn, such as restricted opening times for restaurants and limits on customer numbers in many establishments. But that depends on the development of the pandemic.

“We still have the restrictions in place now during the spring, but the restrictions might be lifted in autumn. But if the vaccination programme is delayed, then it will take longer before they can be relaxed and longer before the economy can ‘restart’,” she explained.

The 45 billion kronor is made up of a separate amendment budget as well as 22 billion kronor which are part of the spring budget.

Unsurprisingly, a large chunk of the money will go directly to the healthcare sector, including 1.65 billion for testing and contact tracing work, one billion for buying more vaccine doses and 700 million to Sweden’s 21 regions to help them carry out vaccinations. An injection of two billion kronor will not only support healthcare directly related to Covid-19 but also other care that has been postponed due to the pandemic.

“Money cannot, must not, will not be an obstacle in limiting the spread of infection or in caring for the sick,” said Andersson.

The Finance Minister also announced several other measures, including Swedish language courses, summer jobs and extending business crisis support and coronavirus sick pay rules. Here’s The Local’s in-depth explainer on what the budget means for you.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ECONOMY

Swedish parliament approves government’s budget

The government's budget and controversial pensions agreement has been passed by parliament after an independent MP, who held the deciding vote, chose to support it at the last minute.

Swedish parliament approves government's budget

The budget passed by 174 to 173 votes.

As a result, guaranteed pensions for pensioners on low or no incomes will increase by up to 800 kronor a month after tax from August.

Formally, a majority of MP’s voted no to the right-wing opposition’s budget, proposed by the Moderates, the Christian Democrats, the Liberals and the Sweden Democrats, meaning that the budget proposed by the government with the support of the Green Party, the Left Party and the Centre Party was approved.

If the vote had been even on both sides, it could have been decided by drawing lots, giving each budget a 50 percent chance of being passed.

Finance Minister Mikael Damberg thanked the parties supporting the government’s budget in a press conference following the vote.

“I want to thank the parties who contributed to this: the Centre Party, the Left Party and the Green Party,” he said. “In total, a million pensioners will be affected by this proposal as soon as this autumn.”

“It’s a necessary reform which is about equality. After a life spent working in Sweden, everyone has the right to economic security in their old age.”

In an interview with public service broadcaster SVT Nyheter after the vote, leader of the conservative Moderate party, Ulf Kristersson criticised the new budget, stating that pensioners would have been better off under the opposition’s proposal.

“It harms confidence in Swedish economic policy and it’s bad for the pensioners who would have had a better pension under our proposal,” he told SVT.

“It shouldn’t ever go to drawing lots,” he told SVT, “this has been a rather telling end to a term of office which has been completely unsustainable.”

“We need governments who can govern, with a governing foundation and well-thought-out economic policy.”

On the other side of the political divide, Left Party leader Nooshi Dadgostar was happy to see the government’s budget passed, despite the fact that the so-called Nooshi-supplement to pensions which she had lobbied for was not included in the final pension proposal.

“It’s a long time since I was this happy,” she told SVT. “We wanted a raise in the guarantee pension from the beginning – we haven’t raised the guarantee pension by this much in over 25 years.”

SHOW COMMENTS