Former politicians live off benefits

When almost a year had passed since the last general election, more than eight out of ten former members of parliament (MPs) continued to receive income benefits from the Swedish parliament.

Of the 105 MPs who left parliament last autumn and were entitled to income benefits, 87 were still receiving payments in August. All bar eleven of those benefiting from the income guarantee received in excess of 30,000 kronor ($4,500) per month.

Any MP who has held a seat in parliament for at least three years has a right to a one year income guarantee, which is equivalent to 80 percent of his or her previous parliamentary income.

Former Minister for Democracy Britta Lejon for example has had 41,438 paid into her account on a monthly basis, while former Left Party leader Gudrun Schyman continues to accept a monthly payout of 38,980 kronor.

Two weeks ago Schyman began a new career as a presenter on TV8. As she has not yet reached a wage agreement with her new employer, she can continue to claim her income guarantee.

“I’ll fix that up in November. I’ve had a sort of freelance business until now and haven’t really been able to know what was going to happen with anything,” she said.

When asked whether she was employed by TV8 or self-employed, Schyman replied:

“I haven’t really decided that with them yet, I must admit.”

The Feminist Initiative spokeswoman added that she was happy with the system in its current form.

“Once upon a time it was a sort of pension for life. That has changed considerably over the last decades. Now it bears more of a resemblance to other transitional systems,” she said.