The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) alone is obliged to find work for 6,000 trainees under the government’s “Lyftet” (Lift) scheme, according to the Dagens Industri business daily.
“When I received the letter I was convinced that they had written it wrong, that there was one too many zeros,” said Elisabeth Bjar, HR director at the Swedish Tax Agency to the newspaper.
The government’s “Lyftet” scheme is aimed at occupying some 130,000 unemployed people, but by January municipalities and counties had only accepted 20 interns. The state will instead now take on the interns.
Swedish labour minister Sven Otto Littorin told the newspaper that he is well aware that finding places for 65,000 interns within the state apparatus was unrealistic.
“It is a high target, which I am conscious that we will not meet with regards to state authorities. But at the same time I think that we have to put pressure on state authorities to actually take part, in the same way as we have asked the local authorities to do so,” he told the TT news agency.
Littorin is also aware of the risk that trainees will not be given anything meaningful to do. But, he said, any activity is better than “just sitting at home and waiting for the benefits to arrive.”
“Even if the work tasks may not be 100 percent perfect, it is still better to have somewhere to go, to feel that there are others around, that you are not just left alone to wait for the money,” Littorin said.
Littorin rejected accusations from the ST union that the government is pushing the scheme to simply push down unemployment figures before the autumn election.
“It is of course not that at all, for the simple reason that these people are already unemployed. They remain registered as unemployed. So this is not an attempt to cook the books. However it increases the chance that they might return to work increases, and that is the whole point.”