• Sweden's news in English
 

Swedes 'clueless' about rise in welfare spending

Oliver Gee · 7 Feb 2014, 17:17

Published: 07 Feb 2014 17:17 GMT+01:00

 
The study, which compared Sweden's welfare services between 1980 and 2012, was carried out by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Sveriges Kommuner och Landsting - SKL).
 
It was released on Friday together with figures from pollsters Ipsos, which revealed that almost half of Swedes surveyed thought that resources spent in in the public sector were much higher 30 years ago than they are today. 
 
In reality, however, in nearly all areas, there has been an enormous increase in resources spent on education, health, and care for the elderly.
 
Between 1980 and 2012, total spending by Sweden's municipalities increased from 478 billion kronor ($73.5 billion) to 760 billion kronor (using 2012 rates), the equivalent of 1.5 percent per year.
 
At the same time, Sweden's population increased by 0.4 percent a year, meaning municipal sector spending rose roughly a full percentage point faster than the population during the roughly 30 year period.
 
The findings did not come as a surprise to Annika Wallskog, chief economist at SKL, who partly blames the media for Swedes misperception about welfare spending
 
"The picture painted in the Swedish media means that any bad story from the welfare system really blows up, whether it's in schools, elderly care, anywhere" she told The Local.
 
"It's also because people don't realize that it's a slow change. I'm the same myself, when I think back to my school from 30 years ago I think it's exactly the same today as it was then. Of course it's not."
 
The results showed that only ten percent of Swedes surveyed said they thought Sweden was spending more than ever on the public sector.
 
In reality, Sweden has never been spending more money on schooling, social care, and health care. Researchers found that there has been a 68 percent increase in resources in these areas overall, a figure adjusted for inflation. 
 
At the same time, the population of Sweden has shot up 14.5 percent and Swedes are healthier and living longer.
 
Jesper Hansson of the National Institute of Economic Research said that the figures may be correct when it comes to money spent, but added that there are other concerns. 
Story continues below…
 
"Salaries have also increased, and we're not getting more employers in the public sector," he told the TT news agency.
 
Wallskog at SKL said demographic trends mean Sweden is going to see increased demands on its welfare system. In addition, Swedes' increasing wealth may also raise expectations about what the state should provide.
 
"We in Sweden came out pretty well following the financial crisis, and we will have high expectations for the welfare system from now on. People want more from welfare the richer they are," she explained, and added that she welcomed a discussion on one condition.
 
"We think it's important to have the debate," she told The Local. "But we also think it should be based on facts."

Related links:

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Man dies after falling four floors in Swedish nightclub
People queuing outside the Yaki-Da nightclub in Gothenburg last year. Photo: Yaki-Da Facebook

Man dies after falling four floors in Swedish nightclub
1 day ago

A man in his 30s has died after falling from the fourth floor inside the Yaki-Da nightclub in Gothenburg late on Friday night.

Julian Assange
British press savages Assange and UN panel
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holding a U.N. report on the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Photo: Katy Wrigglesworth/AP

British press savages Assange and UN panel
1 day ago

UK newspaper columnists on Saturday took aim at Julian Assange and the UN panel that found the anti-secrecy campaigner had been "arbitrarily detained".

Julian Assange
Assange: 'Today is a significant victory for us'
Julian Assange's press conference on Friday. Photo: Mattias Areskog/TT

Assange: 'Today is a significant victory for us'
2 days ago

Will Julian Assange be able to walk free?

Julian Assange
Swedish rape activists slam UN on Assange
The board of Swedish women's refuge lobby Roks. (Zozan Inci front left). Photo: Roks

Swedish rape activists slam UN on Assange
2 days ago

“The UN thinks that the justice of the women who have been assaulted and raped is less important than the right of a possible offender to walk freely in the streets.”

Ikea loses right to own trademark in Indonesia
What four yellow letters can Ikea put up at its store outside Jakarta. Photo: Flickr/BxHxTxCx

Ikea loses right to own trademark in Indonesia
2 days ago

You thought that Ikea was a Swedish purveyor of flatpack furniture? Well not in Indonesia it isn't, at least not any more.

The Local List
Four fab facts about Sweden's 'Melodifestivalen' mania
Måns Zelmerlöw won Eurovision song contest 2015. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Four fab facts about Sweden's 'Melodifestivalen' mania
2 days ago

Christmas, Midsummer and Lucia are all important holidays in Sweden. But there is one event that is bigger than them all.

The Local music
Ten fantastic Swedish songs for February
Maja Francis. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Ten fantastic Swedish songs for February
2 days ago

February brings a haul of great new Swedish pop - let our music writer, Paul Connolly, take you through the very best.

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
Stock picture of playing cards. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SCANPIX

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
2 days ago

A game of bridge had an unexpected ending for 32 club members in Thailand, including three Swedes.

Swedish Volvo's offloads costs for big profit rise
A Volvo trucks plant in the US. Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Swedish Volvo's offloads costs for big profit rise
2 days ago

Truck maker Volvo reported a big profit boost on Friday following a massive cost-cutting programme.

Swede finds 86-year-old condom at grandma's
The condoms were made out of silk. Photo: SVT

Swede finds 86-year-old condom at grandma's
2 days ago

Would you trust a silk condom?

Sponsored Article
How to set up shop in the 'Silicon Valley of Sweden'
International
Who exactly is Julian Assange?
Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Travel
Stockholm's eight REAL no-go zones
Gallery
People-watching: February 3rd
Blog updates

4 February

City Runs (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Since moving to Stockholm I’ve been blessed to live next to the Djurgarden, and to be…" READ »

 

3 February

An amazing month for The Local as Europe thirsts for news (Globally Local) »

"Here at The Local, we shy away from blowing our own trumpet – but sometimes if…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Swiss hospitality: The ladder to your international career
National
'How confronting the man who robbed me gave me closure'
Sponsored Article
Ice magic at north Sweden island lodges
National
TIMELINE: All the twists and turns in the Julian Assange case
Analysis & Opinion
DEBATE: Why are Swedes so obsessed with Nordic skiing?
Culture
See which Swedish museums are now opening up for free
Sponsored Article
Just landed? Here's the secret to finding work in Stockholm
Gallery
Property of the week: Insjön, Nacka
Sponsored Article
Stockholm's secret ski resort: Kungsberget
National
VIDEO: Tensions caught on camera inside Swedish asylum home
Gallery
People-Watching: January 29th - 31st
Sponsored Article
Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
International
How will Sweden deport up to 80,000 failed asylum seekers?
Sport
When you gotta go... Swedish racing dog does poo and then takes gold
Sport
Guess who just got a HUGE pay rise?
Travel
WATCH: Five top tips for safe ice skating on Sweden's gorgeous lakes
Gallery
People-watching: January 27th
National
'Sweden could be at war within years'
Gallery
Property of the week: Öjersbo, Kungsbacka
International
Why is the Pope coming to Sweden?
Travel
Ten must-see Stockholm museums
National
He created Sweden's huge snow penis
Culture
The historic moment when Abba reunited on stage in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
OPINION: Why I can't embrace Sweden's obsession with hugging
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Mamma Mia The Party show opens in Stockholm
3,407
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se