Former MPs cost Sweden 4.5 million kronor a month

Around 40 former members of parliament are still living on parliamentary benefits despite the fact that it is more than four years since they left politics, according to an investigation by TT.

In total some 4.5 million kronor was paid out in November alone to former members of the Swedish and European parliaments. If politicians who lost their seats in the autumn election are excluded from the figures there are still around 50 politicians living on an average of 21,000 kronor a month.

The income league is topped by a newcomer, the Left Party’s Jonas Sjöstedt, who this year left the European Parliament to move to New York. Since then, he has received 38,380 kronor a month.

Veterans such as Inga Lantz and Hans Pettersson, who represented the Left-Communists until 1988 and 1989 respectively, are also high up on the list.

Pettersson has enjoyed his salary guarantee for the last four years after a number of years as a journalist, press secretary and councillor in Hallstahammar. In November he received 27,000 kronor and last year he claimed 302,000 kronor.

“I have chosen to live on the guarantee. One has to have a life too,” said Pettersson, who has a number of political jobs.

“Without the guarantee it wouldn’t work. Only pensioners would be able to be politicians,” he said.

Inga Lantz left parliament in 1988 and quit the Left Party in 1992. Nevertheless, she received 32,472 kronor in November and a total of 370,000 kronor last year.

The Left Party is over-represented on the list, with 22 percent of the former politicians, as is the Green Party with 14 percent.

Well-known Green Party politicians on the list are former EU MP Per Gahrton (who took home over 24,000 kronor in November and 324,000 kronor last year) and Inger Schörling (21,000 kronor in November, 410,000 kronor last year).

They are in the company of other former EU politicians who left Brussels and politics in the last few years. Both Per Stenmark of the Moderates and Yvonne Sandberg-Fries of the Social Democrats received around 30,000 kronor in November. Both are over the age of 55.

“We are very age-obsessed in Sweden and it is expensive for companies to employ older people. So it’s not easy to find a new job,” said Stenmark, who also stated that experience from abroad does not count for much.