No drop in alcohol tax – Nuder

The Swedish government's coalition partners have forced finance minister Pär Nuder to drop plans to reduce alcohol tax by forty percent.

Nuder and the Social Democrats had wanted to cut tax on wine, beer and spirits before September’s election, a policy intended to tackle private imports of drinks from the continent and protect sales at the state alcohol retail monopoly Systembolaget.

But Nuder now says that he cannot get agreement from the Left and Green parties, whose votes the government would need to pass the measures. The government cannot get the votes it needs from the opposition, as this would lead to the break up of the alliance with the Left and Green parties over the budget.

When last autumn the government’s partners first rebuffed the suggestion of reducing alcohol taxes, Nuder said he would try to find other ways to make the changes.

But since then a number of reports have emerged showing that Swedes are drinking less, while sales at Systembolaget are rising.

Changes in alcohol buying habits mean “we now need to reevaluate how we handle this question,” Nuder told Svenska Dagbladet.

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TT/The Local