Borg: Statistics error to cost state ‘millions’

Borg: Statistics error to cost state 'millions'
A calculating error by Statistics Sweden (SCB) will cost the government several hundred million kronor in 2009, the finance minister has said.

On Tuesday it was revealed that the statistics agency erred when calculating changes in consumer prices.

The faulty consumer price index was then used by the government to come up with a new base amount (prisbasbelopp), a figure indexed to consumer prices which is subsequently used to calculate the levels at which certain public benefits are paid.

The base amount is adjusted annually to ensure that the real value of benefits paid isn’t eroded by rising prices.

The base amount for 2009 went up by 1,800 kronor ($263) to 42,800 kronor.

The mistake put a dent in government forecasts for both the income and expense side of the balance sheet.

Altogether, Statistics Sweden’s miscalculation will likely cost the state between 600 and 700 million kronor, said Minister of Finance Anders Borg on Thursday.

“It’s problematic that SCB made this mistake. We’ll just have to live with the fact that we’ll have these effects in 2009,” Borg told Dagens Industri.