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Social Democrat budget targets schools

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Social Democrat financial spokeswoman Magdalena Andersson. File: TT
16:05 CEST+02:00
Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats presented its shadow budget on Monday, focusing on fewer students per teacher and how to tackle youth unemployment.
 
The Social Democrat Party said that it planned to inject 750 million kronor ($115 million) into reducing the number of students in Sweden's classrooms.  The party said it intended to finance the move by increasing alcohol and tobacco taxes, shadow finance minister Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Monday.
 
She claimed there was already a parliamentary majority in favour of reducing class sizes.
 
A second part of the shadow budget took aim at youth unemployment with a "90-Day Guarantee", a key policy aimed to get young job seekers into either an internship, traineeship, or vocational training. The party said the programme should cost about 200 million kronor. 
 
In line with its focus on young people in Sweden, the Social Democrats said they wanted summer school to be on offer for students who leave compulsory school (at age 15) without adequate grades to get into high school.
 
As it is not legally possible to force municipalities to offer summer school , the Social Democrats have instead proposed a carrot - rewarding local authorities that make summer school available to the vulnerable youth.
 
"It would be a much better summer for school-weary youth than what the current government can offer," Andersson said.
 
Government ministers quickly responded to the shadow budget. The housing minister, Christian Democrat politician Stefan Attefall, branded the it "unrealistic and populist", while the enterprise minister and Centre Party leader Annie Lööf took to Twitter to say that the Social Democrats created youth unemployment in the first place. 
 
"They propose a 90-day guarantee for young people. First make them unemployed, then give them a guaranteed place," she wrote.
 
Her government coalition partner and Sweden's finance minister, Anders Borg, told TV4 news that were the Social Democrats and their unofficial ally the Greens to take power in the September elections, the wide-ranging tax reforms on the table would reduce the average Swede's spending power.

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Swedish households, he cautioned, would have 500 kronor ($77) less to spend every month. 

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