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Ex-politicians cash in on early pensions pay out

Ex-politicians cash in on early pensions pay out

Published: 21 Sep 2011 11:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 Sep 2011 11:28 GMT+02:00

During the first half of 2011 more than 450 former local politicians shared a total of 42 million kronor ($6.3 million) in "temporary" early retirement pensions pay out, a study carried out by Sveriges Radio (SR) shows.

“But my dear fellow, it's not like I have days when I sit around and twiddle my thumbs. I am involved in many different things,” former local politician Bertil Daniels from the county of Dalarna in central Sweden told local radio.

Daniels, a member of the Centre Party, has received about 250,000 kronor per annum over the past 12 years.

According to the pensions agreement agreed by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, politicians that leave their post by choice or are forced out can receive a temporary pension from the age of 50 to retirement age (65 in Sweden).

In many cases the retired politicians are guaranteed several hundred thousand kronor up until they are 65.

Daniels left his post by choice at the age of 51. He doesn't think that the remuneration, which is given without any requirements on the recipient to look for a new job, directly contradicts his party's employment policy.

“This was an agreement which was made by the Association for Local Authorities (Kommunförbundet) and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting) and I had no reason to go against that in any way,” Daniels said.

Annie Lööf, soon to be voted in as the new party leader of the Centre Party, wrote an opinion piece in daily Expressen in June, where she argued that the same employment conditions should apply for all of society.

“It is not feasible that those of us who are actively working to change the Swedish social security systems from benefit traps to insurance against temporary changes ourselves are guaranteed an income which encourages passivity and benefit dependency,” she wrote.

According to Sveriges Radio, Daniels has been able to collect just over 3 million kronor since he left his post. Currently he is chairman of the local ice hockey club Leksand IF.

Currently 63 years of age, he has two more years of collecting temporary pension from the state.

“I looked for work in the very beginning, but was unsuccessful,” Daniels told SR.

Although Lööf wrote that there is a good reason for why there is an income guarantee for politicians as they don't enjoy the benefits of a notice period or job security, she also thinks that this should be temporary and gradually decline in order to encourage work.

“Our basic belief is that everyone can and everyone is needed,” Lööf wrote in June.

According to the SR investigation, over 450 Swedish politicians have claimed the temporary pension after leaving their posts.

Former councillor from Arboga, in central Sweden, Social Democrat Kjell Söderström moved to the Phillippines where he is currently staying at a scuba diving centre, after leaving his post on the local council.

For the last seven years he has received 300,000 kronor per annum from Sweden.

“I definitely benefit from it. If I lived in Sweden I would probably think it was a reasonable remuneration, but here prices are a bit different,” he told SR.

If Söderström continues to claim his pension until he reaches retirement age, he will have collected about 4 million kronor in total. According to Söderström he doesn't have to work.

“I might help out a bit in the diving shop,” he told SR.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:32 September 21, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
...interesting to see 'how the other half lives': my Swedish partner tells me that comparatively few 'working Swedes' are able to obtain such early retirement terms

Oh well - take the money and run...
12:58 September 21, 2011 by skogsbo
so 450 people shared 4m krona, that's a staggering 9333kr each, wow they will certainly be living the high life with that for years to come.

The things is with folk moaning about these pension deals etc. that the 'other half' or comparatively few folk get, ANYONE can apply to become a Politician etc.. so no one can really complain.
14:15 September 21, 2011 by Tysknaden
If politicians do not receive a lot of payment, they become more easily corrupted. Joke :-)
16:00 September 21, 2011 by J Jack
It just makes them more grumpy and selfish. Political pensioners when confronted about income do the expression of fish-faced disbelief better than any other segment of society. Their worn teeth and saggy jowls seem to suit a jaw line that has yielded to the forces of gravity.
16:14 September 21, 2011 by Svensksmith
Like rats off a sinking ship.
00:50 September 22, 2011 by reason
Look again skogsbo, it says 42 M, not 4. And that's for half the year. Multiply your result by 20 and it's still not a staggering amount of money, but it's starting to look substantial at least. The question is of course, do they deserve it? And if not, how do we find or train politicians that do?
11:57 September 22, 2011 by McChatter
@ J Jack Exactly! Just like pigs with their snouts in the trough.

@Svensksmith More like rats jumping on the gravy train.

So Bertil Daniels started freeloading 12 years ago at the age of 51. That makes him about 63 now. What happens in 2 years' time; does he only get State pension then? I rather doubt it. Cute guy. They should make him Prime Minister of Greece - he'd make them healthy again in no time!
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