Students benefit from spring budget

The Local Sweden
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Students benefit from spring budget

The Left Party agreed on Wednesday morning to back the government's spring budget proposals.


The decision came after overnight negotiations in which the party had tried to raise study grants further.

"We consider that the increase of 300 kronor is too small but we see this as the first step in the reform of student support," said the Left Party's budget negotiator Alice Åström in a press release.

"We will continue to push for increased study grants - now it becomes an election issue."

On Tuesday finance minister Pär Nuder submitted a proposal under which the first change would be implemented as early as July 1st this year. That would mean an increase in the study grant of 100 kronor per month and in the student loan of 200 kronor per month.

The total cost of the change this year will be 119 million kronor. However, it is some way off the Left Party's original demand for a combined increase of 1,500 kronor per month.

According to Pär Nuder, the reforms he has put forward in the spring budget will cost around 6 billion kronor this year and 11-12 billion kronor in each of the next two years. But despite the rise in spending, he doubts that the Riksbank will be forced to raise interest rates.

The three parties have also agreed on the controversial flight tax.

For flights within Europe it will be 94 kronor and outside of Europe it will be double that. In total it will raise 60 million kronor per year.

Nuder stated at his presentation of the budget that he had succeeded in presenting reforms for major groups within the framework of 'responsible policies'.

It is the fifth time that the Social Democrats, the Left Party and the Greens have presented a budget together, but on this occasion the negotiations have had a different atmosphere about them.

That's due to the relatively good economic growth Sweden is currently experiencing.

"This year growth will be 3.6%, employment will increase by 80,000 people, unemployment will fall, the surplus is 2% of GNP and inflationary pressure is low," said Nuder.

Growth in income from environmental taxation will not reach the 3.6 billion kronor which the parties agreed upon for this year.

"It has been hard to live up to that, since tax increases couldn't come into force as we thought," said Nuder.

But the three parties have agreed not to make up for this with any new tax increases. Instead, the abolition of the carbon dioxide tax in the business sector has been delayed by a year and will not happen until January 1st 2007.

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TT/The Local


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