Persson rules out tax cuts

Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson on Sunday kicked off the Social Democrats' election campaign by attacking the conservative opposition on welfare and environmental questions and ruling out tax cuts

Sweden goes to the polls on September 17 in a closely-fought election.

“It is deeply disappointing that the conservative alliance has no interest in environmental questions,” Persson told an audience in Björkvik, southeastern Sweden, in a speech opening the campaign.

“They don’t think of future generations,” he said.

Persson also blasted opposition calls for cuts in Sweden’s welfare system and said the Social Democrats would increase housing benefits for the people in retirement and early retirement.

This would cost one billion kronor and therefore voters should “not count on any tax cuts”.

Persson also said that it was possible for Swedish unemployment to fall to four percent this autumn and to three percent later without fuelling inflation.

Swedish unemployment stood at 6.3 percent in June.

Opinion polls indicate that Persson’s governing Social Democrats and their parliamentary allies are neck-and-neck with the opposition in the run-up to the September election.

A Temo poll, published in June before the Swedish summer break, credited the Social Democrats and their allies, the Left party and the Greens, with a combined 47.2 percent of voting intentions, against 47.6 percent for the centre-right opposition alliance.

Other opinion polls published in June also suggest a very tight race.