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Call for tax breaks for domestic staff

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13:44 CEST+02:00
Taxes on domestic staff such as cleaners, gardeners and nannies should be cut, according to a new study by the National Institute of Economic Research in Sweden.

In a report published on Tuesday, the institute estimated that tax breaks for those who employ maids and gardeners would lead to 10,000 new full-time jobs as well as providing 400 million kronor to the public purse.

The figure is based on a tax reduction of 50 percent on the wages of household staff.

The new jobs would be created thanks partly to fewer people working on the black market, and partly because more people would be able to afford to employ domestic staff.

Ulf Lindberg, of service industry organisation Almega, one of the sponsors of the report, said that the suggestion was both "good industrial policy and good employment policy".

Lindberg said that the measures would be "a surer way to create more new jobs than the job creation measures in the government's spring budget."

The proposal has found favour among the right-wing opposition parties, but Social Democrats are less keen, arguing that a tax break for maids would benefit the rich and would prove a setback for sex equality.

Jens Henriksson, state secretary at the finance department, also questioned the implications of the change on government income:

"The most likely scenario is that it only creates 3,000 jobs at a cost of 2 billion kronor."

"If we were to spend similar amounts on health and education it would create twice as many jobs," he told Dagens Nyheter.

But not all those on the Left were opposed to the idea of tax breaks. While the Left Party dismissed the proposal, the Green Party said it was willing to discuss the idea.

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