Lucrative safety net awaits ministers

Even if there is a change of government at the next election, the current crop of ministers have their finances well-secured: half of them will continue to receive salaries until they retire without lifting a finger.

A conservative victory in next September’s election may affect household incomes across the country, but ministers’ wallets will be no less stuffed. All of them will have the right to their current incomes of 93,000 kronor a month for a year, except Prime Minister Göran Persson, who will keep his monthly wage of 116,000 kronor a month.

At the end of that time, 10 of 22 ministers will be entitled to their ministerial pension.

Those remaining ministers who are somewhat younger will continue to receive 45,000 kronor a month until they retire, if they choose. Among them is the 38 year old Minister for Infrastructure, Ulrica Messing, who, if the vote goes the wrong way for her, would be well-compensated.

Three others born in the 1960s, industry minister Thomas Östros, finance minister Per Nuder and social care minister Ylva Johansson, will also be able to take a ministerial pension if they end up jobless next September.

The news that such young people can pick up such a tidy pension after such short careers will disturb many, said the chief economist of the trade union organisation LO, Dan Andersson. Especially, he noted, since most normal workers must get as many years of work under their belts as possible for an adequate pension at the age of 65.

On the other hand, he said he thinks that people ought to recognise the value of competent politicians.

“It’s tough on ministers. Ten years at the top of politics between the ages of 35 and 45 doesn’t automatically give you great opportunities in the employment market afterwards,” he said.

The argument for the beneficial rules is that top politicians do not enjoy the same job security as other workers.

Politicians are entitled to the ministerial pension if they have worked for six years as a minister, state secretary or county council leader. If they get a new source of income, the pension payments are reduced by that amount.

Justice Minister Thomas Bodström will, if the Social Democrats are ousted, miss out on his pension by a hair’s breadth. A new government could still award him a pension – but that would be up to the conservatives to decide.

TT/The Local