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Social Democrats reveal election manifesto

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Photo: TT
09:29 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: Sweden's main opposition party the Social Democrats has revealed its election manifesto at a press conference at a high school in Stockholm, with a key focus on education and welfare benefits.

Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven started his speech in Liljeholmen by describing Sweden as a "fantastic country" with "so much to be proud of".

But he argued that "Sweden needs a change, and making change isn't standing still and being passive".

His party's manifesto is entitled Dear Future and details policies expected to cost 40 billion kronor ($5.7 billion), compared with 15 billion promised by the Alliance parties on Monday.

Here are the key points:

Employment 

  • Cut unemployment in Sweden to the lowest rate in the EU
  • Reform job centres (Arbetsförmedlingen) to make them more useful to employers
  • Give long-term unemployed workers jobs with local authorities or in the voluntary sector
  • Increase unemployment benefits so that people previously earning up to 25,000 SEK a month will get 80 percent of their salary for as long as they remain entitled to claim this benefit (under current legislation this benefit is gradually cut the longer people remain unemployed for)
  • Guarantee young people a job, trainee position or educational course within 90 days of unemployment
  • Limit fixed-term contracts to a maximum of two years within a 5 year period
Immigration
  • All asylum seekers to have the right to an impartial appraisal of their specific case
  • All municipalities to share responsibility for taking in refugees
  • Put pressure on other EU member states to share responsibility 

Education

  • Smaller class sizes for 7 to 10-year-olds
  • All children to start school age 6 (currently age 7)
  • Raise wages for teachers to attract staff to problem schools
  • Give more power to local councils to decide whether or not to allow free schools in their area, "to prevent over-provision and segregation"
  • Companies running free schools will be required to publish their accounts 
  • Compulsory schooling for all pupils until the age of 18
  • More money for after school clubs, with a stronger role in helping children with their homework
  • Raise teaching standards by introducing tougher entrance requirements for those wishing to go into teaching and providing bigger resources for teacher training colleges
  • More university places and more courses for workers who want to continue their education
  • Increase the number of female professors and ensure research grants are distributed "in a gender-equal way", with rewards for universities that achieve this
  • Extra places in adult education
Family and welfare
  • Introduce a third month of paid parental leave for fathers 
  • Raise child benefit by 100 SEK a month
  • Taxes for pensioners to be cut to the same rate as for workers on the first SEK 12,000 SEK of income each month
  • Sick benefits to be raised for middle income earners. Remove the time limit on sick benefits 

Health and elderly care

  • All privately-run care homes to follow minimum staffing guidelines
  • Allocate more money to elderly care by increasing grants to local authorities 
  • Introduce a law against selling care homes to the private sector at under the market rate
  • Guarantee that cancer treatment will start within 4 weeks of diagnosis
  • More training places for midwives
  • Patients with private medical insurance will not be allowed to jump treatment queues
  • Create 32,000 trainee jobs for young people in care sector

Housing

  • Introduce a bonus for construction companies that build small rental apartments or student flats
  • Give more capital to state lender SBAB to improve access to credit for new building projects
  • Large-scale modernization of suburban housing estates 

Transport

  • Restore and expand Sweden’s rail network by introducing new high speed rail lines and developing Stockholm’s metro
  • A 'green car bonus' for cars with low emissions
  • Nationalize railway maintenance

Environment

  • Make Sweden free from fossil fuels by 2050
  • Seek a cross-party agreement on energy production.

Business

  • Reduce employers' liabilities for sick pay, invest in export promotion and "improve conditions for SMEs"
  • Found a national innovation council to strengthen Sweden's research and development

Crime

  • More severe punishments for sexual offences
  • Buying sex abroad to be made a punishable offence in Sweden

Foreign Policy

  • Sweden will not join NATO
  • Strengthen the United Nations
  • Push for tougher labour rights for all workers within the EU

Sweden's elections - how do they work?

Sweden's elections - who's who?

Earlier on Tuesday, an opinion piece by Stefan Löfven was published in Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper. In it he criticised the current ruling Alliance, highlighting falling school results, rising unemployment and the privatization of welfare provision.

Writing in Expressen, leading Social Democrat politicians Margot Wallström and Mikael Damberg said they wanted to collaborate across block boundaries in order to introduce a third paid paternity month for fathers.
 
The policy is also supported by the Liberal Party which is currently part of the governing Alliance, which so far hasn’t backed the idea, following strong criticism from the Christan Democrats.

Story continues below…

 
"In more and more areas, it is becoming clear how stupid today's bloc policy is for Sweden," argue Wallström and Damberg.
 
 
 

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