But Leijonborg’s colleagues from the other conservative parties immediately rejected the proposal. On Sunday, Leijonborg suggested a compromise. Sick pay won’t be reduced after the 2006 election, but healthcare would be speeded up and more money put into rehabilitation. There would also be improved anti-fraud measures and stricter rules governing sick leave.
If significant savings haven’t been made by 2008, Leijonborg would be prepared to discuss reducing sick pay from the current rate of 80%.
“If it comes to that even we realise there must be a debate,” he said.
But Leijonborg is convinced savings can be made. In his letter, he proposes that the conservative alliance commits itself to the Social Insurance Agency’s target of reducing the number of days of absence per person from 42.5 to 37. That would give savings of 16bn kronor – significantly more than the sum the Moderates want to save to finance tax cuts.
He also wants a special “anti-fraud minister” to be appointed to fight benefit cheats.
But the Moderates’ party secretary, Sven Otto Littorin, has rejected Leijonborg’s compromise.
“The Moderates want a conservative government to bring in tax cuts straight away, therefore quick savings are also needed.”
Littorin has support from Centre party leader, Maud Olofsson:
“Tax cuts must be brought in as soon as we come into power,” she said.
Sick pay policy is on the agenda at the conservative alliance’s meeting on 30-31 August.