• Sweden edition

Opposition leaders united on tax cuts

Published: 01 Sep 2005 11:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Sep 2005 11:22 GMT+02:00

The conservative opposition parties have come to an "historic agreement" over reforms to the Swedish taxation system.

Buoyed with confidence following a two-day meeting in Bankeryd, the leaders of the four parties announced plans to invest at least 45 billion kronor in cuts in income tax.

The ceiling for sickness pay will not be reduced, but savings will come from unemployment benefit and road insurance.

Christian Democrat leader Göran Hägglund said that the value of the meeting between the leaders could not be underestimated.

"Never before have our four parties in opposition been so united on something as big and as important as this," he said.

The leader of the Moderate Party, Fredrik Reinfeldt, declared that there is no longer a question mark over whether the conservative alliance was ready for power.

Specifically, the agreement means that a conservative government - assuming, of course, that they pull off a victory in the September 2006 election - will initiate a 37 billion kronor cut in income tax by the end of 2007, and then a further cut of 8 billion kronor over the following two years.

The precise details of the cut are not yet clear but an employee earning the average wage could expect around 700 kronor extra in their pocket each month.

According to the alliance, the first stage of the reform is completely financed. Nevertheless, the leader of the Liberals (Folkpartiet), Lars Leijonborg, put his foot down when it came to a lowering of the ceiling for sickness benefit.

"We won't associate ourselves with increased insecurity," he said.

But the conservative alliance still plans to drive through other savings, totalling around 15 billion kronor, in sickness benefit. Traffic injuries will be paid for through road insurance and the basis for calculating sick pay will be changed.

The income tax cuts will also be financed through savings in the pensions paid to those who take early retirement.

Unemployment pay will fall after 200 days to 70% of the previous salary and the top payment will be 680 kronor per day. After 300 days a basic rate of 320 kronor per day will be paid. Contributions to the unemployment fund (a-kassa) will be compulsory and the charge will be raised to a maximum of 300 kronor per month.

"The motivation for working is going to be a lot clearer. There's going to be more left over when you work," said Reinfeldt.

The alliance also reached agreement on a tax package for employers, with the most significant change being a reduction in the employer's contribution for small firms taking on new staff.

"The business package is fantastic for all small companies in Sweden, but also for people who don't have a job," said Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson.

The proposals brought an immediate, and not unexpected, attack from Prime Minister Göran Persson, who said that the sick and the unemployed would pay for the cuts.

"I'm surprised that the Liberals are going along with this," he said to TT.

Finance Minister Pär Nuder was equally sceptical:

"The point of this is to push down salaries. The unemployed will be forced to take any old jobs and this will hit those who are weakest."

TT/The Local

Discuss this article

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

The Local List
Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm
Fanny feels at home at the Blå Lotus. Photo: Isabela Vrba

Top ten coffee spots in central Stockholm

If you're wondering where to grab your next cappucino, then wonder no more. The Local talked to the locals in Stockholm and found out the best spots in town for the ultimate fika experience. READ  

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine
The Azov task force. Photo: Sergei Chuzavkov/TT

Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine

Four Swedes are fighting with the Ukrainian task force Azov - a squad which flies a flag with Nazi symbols and, according to one Swedish soldier, fights for "a white Ukraine". READ  

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark
The elk in this picture are not the ones that will be sent to Denmark. Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Swedish elk get one-way ticket to Denmark

Up to a dozen elk will be transported from Sweden to Denmark in an effort to help maintain local marshlands. READ  

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden

Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs

UPDATED: Swedish citizens are the most likely to be employed in the EU, but Sweden is among the very worst when it comes to getting non-EU citizens into work. READ  

Stockholm Pride kicks off
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Blog updates

27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »


24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: