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Borg 'unhappy' over youth employment record

Borg 'unhappy' over youth employment record

Published: 17 Mar 2012 14:49 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Mar 2012 14:49 GMT+01:00

Swedish finance minister forecast on Saturday that youth unemployment will be the major issue in the 2014 election, expressing dissatisfaction over how government labour market programmes are working.

Speaking at the Moderate Party congress in Örebro, Borg criticised his own policies and called for improvements to both professional introduction programmes and vocational training.

"Professional introduction programmes must be made to work significantly better than they have in the past," said Borg, outlining deficiencies that contribute to the difficulties of the young and foreign-born to gain a foothold in the labour market.

Vocational training in high schools is not working as it should, Borg conceded, explaining that there is too little work experience and that available opportunities were often inadequate.

"We have managed to get apprenticeship courses going, but their expansion is much slower than we anticipated," he said, noting that youth unemployment has been far too high in Sweden for the past 20 years.

Borg expressed hope that labour market actors, such as the unions and employers, will help to push down unemployment among young people and others who are currently without work.

If these groups prove able to negotiate agreements in which young people are offered jobs and training, or apprenticeships on a larger scale, the government would be prepared to help, he stated.

This assistance could come in the form of temporary reductions in payroll taxes, he said. The government's enquiry into apprentice contracts is due for completion in the autumn.

While Anders Borg ruled out a broad cut in payroll taxes, he underlined that cutting barriers to the labour market were at the top of the government's agenda.

"I don't think that general cuts have any major effect," Borg said.

Borg however maintained that broad cuts in payroll taxes for young people, introduced by the government in 2007 and 2009, had had some positive effect.

An evaluation of the reforms has however not yet been completed.

"If we had not lowered the cost more young people would have lost their jobs," Borg said, pointing out that instead of declining by 300,000, the number of those employed in the labour market increased by 50,000 between 2009 and 2011.

A further evaluation of a proposal to introduce a more gradual phasing out of benefits for those securing a job will be completed during 2012.

Borg said that he would consider the plan to incorporate certain requirements, such as knowledge of Swedish. He also called for a reform in the teaching of Swedish for immigrants (SFI).

While conceding that the government's attempts to tackle the problems of unemployment, Borg dismissed the solutions proposed by the opposition Social Democrats and their new leader Stefan Löfven.

"It is only the Moderates and the Alliance government who can do something about Sweden's most critical social problem, youth unemployment," Borg said.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:24 March 17, 2012 by Great Scott
Wake up you useless parasite, scrap phase 3 and unemployment will go down. No one will employ when they can get something for nothing.
21:14 March 17, 2012 by Abe L
Letting company after company outsource jobs to India and other cheap places without interfering or motivating those companies to keep the jobs in Sweden doesn't help. The government needs to focus on making Sweden more attractive for companies but also make sure that Swedish companies get incentive to not outsource to other countries and avoid getting bought by international companies. It would also help a great deal if youth gets encouraged to finish degrees in fields where there actually are jobs. Simply stop making education free in fields that have a job prospective of under 30%.

Big problems are the still signifiant power of the Swedish unions, the enormous tax pressure on individuals, the lack of proper road infrastructure in the capital and the endless list of rights and privilege that Swedish employees have. Sweden won't make it in the long run if they aren't changing to a culture where talent gets rewarded, bad apples are removed and companies look beyond the borders of Scandinavia.

Changing SFI is another good example of the narrow-minded Swedish culture, instead of forcing foreign talent to learn your language it's in everyone's interest to make it more normal to have English as the company language. It might only take a year or two to get people to understand the language, it takes a decade to get them on-par with natives.
03:07 March 18, 2012 by Beavis
Agreed with most of those point Abe- real logic stuff. Also there should be an insentive for companies to employ students to work Saturdays and Sundays only- perhaps a tax break for both the employer and employee- if you go outside the big cites to the bigger towns they shut shops at 2pm on a Saturday! (busiest day of the week!) Considering the peak time for shopping is 13:00-18:00 on Satuday (with the reasoning that normal workers should have this time off) The shops could remain open with only students working (who need the money and experience etc)
21:19 March 18, 2012 by weballergy
I hope Sweden won't go to hell like Spain does. This is what happens when you employ 20 chinese instead of 1 swedish guy. Now you get what your politicians do, just f....you up, and fill their pockets.
02:32 March 19, 2012 by nathan45
It's hard to employ youth when your governments priority is making sure they get tens of thousands of people from third world countries every year because it's cheaper cuting their own wages and taxing their friends the rich.
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