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BUDGET

Sweden’s budget surplus increases

The Swedish central government budget is expected to show a full year surplus of 138 billion kronor in 2007, compared with a surplus of 18.373 billion kronor in 2006, the Swedish National Debt Office (SNDO) said.

The SNDO’s latest forecast for the year is 26 billion kronor higher than its last full year forecast in February.

“The difference is primarily due to larger tax revenue than expected,” it said.

In full year 2008 the SNDO sees tax cuts and “some slowdown in economic activity” reducing the surplus to 118 billion kronor.

Both the 2007 and 2008 forecasts include income of 50 billion kronor a year from divestments of state holdings.

“The expected sales income means that the uncertainty of the forecast is greater than usual,” said SNDO.

Central government debt is seen decreasing to 1.124 trillion kronor by the end of 2007, and to 1.006 trillion kronor by the end of 2008, corresponding to 37 percent and 32 respectively of GDP.

SNDO said the larger surplus means that borrowing will be reduced, with the issue volume in nominal government bonds seen decreasing to 1.5 billion kronor per auction from June 27.

ECONOMY

Sweden boosts spending on civil defence in spring budget

Sweden is to channel a further 800 million kronor to local government and other organisations to bolster Sweden's civil defence capabilities, the country's finance minister has announced.

Sweden boosts spending on civil defence in spring budget

The new funding, which will go to municipalities, regional government, and other organisations, was announced of part of the country’s spring budget, announced on Tuesday. 

“This will strengthen our ability to resist in both war and peace,” Sweden’s finance minister, Mikael Damberg, said in a press conference. “If the worst happens, it’s important that there is physical protection for the population.” 

The government is channelling 91m kronor towards renovating Sweden’s 65,000 bomb shelters, and will also fund the repair the country’s network of emergency sirens, known as Hesa Fredrik, or Hoarse Fredrik, many of which are currently out of order. 

A bomb shelter in Stockholm. Sweden’s government is spending 800m kronor in its spring budget to boost civil defence. Photo: Anders Wiklund/ TT

Sweden’s Social Democrats are currently ruling on the alternative budget put together by the right-wing opposition, making this spring budget, which makes changes to the autumn budget, unusually important. 

The budget includes extra spending of some 31.4 billion kronor (€299m), with 500m kronor going to extra spending on healthcare,  and 10.3 billion kronor going towards supporting Ukrainian refugees, of which nine billion will come from the aid budget. 

The spring budget also includes the so called “pension guarantee bonus”, or garantitillägg, which will see four billion kronor (€390m) going to those with the lowest pensions. 

The bonus, which was the price the Left Party demanded for letting Magdalena Andersson take her place as prime minister, risks being voted down by the right-wing parties in the parliament. 

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