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Alliance touts tax cuts in election manifesto

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Alliance touts tax cuts in election manifesto
Björklund, Hägglund, Olofsson and Reinfeldt unveil election manifesto, Thursday
12:49 CEST+02:00
The ruling Alliance coalition has promised its fifth in-work tax credit if it wins the election next month, it promised as it rolled out its manifesto on Thursday.

In addition, it would also give everyone the right to work until the age of 69. The amount of promised investments outlined totals 12.8 billion kronor ($1.72 billion).

The four party leaders presented their election manifesto at Färgfabriken in Stockholm to a large gathering of media.

Just as the Moderates had proposed earlier, they have pledged an in-work tax credit that will cost 12 billion kronor and a layer height limit for government taxation that will cost 3 billion kronor.

"The Alliance is presenting its job manifesto," said Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. "We have kept our previous promises to the Swedish people. The election will be about preparing ourselves and then getting it done."

He added, "We have also led Sweden through the worst crisis and come out of it and are going to the polls to discuss what we can possibly do with the growing surplus."

A good election campaign should be about important social problems, Reinfeldt believes.

"We must continue to try to achieve full employment," he said. "There is much to do there."

Regarding the budget for its campaign pledges, Reinfeldt described it as "clear," adding, "We do not promise more than we can keep."

In terms of other employment issues, the Alliance also wants more people to work on after retirement age. It would grant workers the right to remain employed until 69 instead of the current limit of 67.

Centre Party leader Maud Olofsson pointed out the importance of having a job as the fundamental element of human self-esteem.

"In order to have a jobs, there must be companies," she said. "We have given incentives to more people to run businesses and made sure that we have a security system that is equitable for both employees and entrepreneurs. The policy must continue."

Olofsson added the coalition would continue selling off state-owned companies. TeliaSonera, Nordea and SBAB top the Alliance's for-sale list.

"We want to remain the largest shareholder in Vattenfall, but we are also open to taking in new responsible owners," she said.

However, mining company LKAB remained state-owned. In addition, no changes will be made to the state's ownership of Apotek.

Liberal leader Jan Björklund pointed to increased competition and the need to make schools better.

"The Chinese have taken over Volvo, AstraZeneca is cutting in Sweden and even if we come out of the crisis, there will also be competitors there," he said. "To be successful in the next generation, we must elevate the quality of the Swedish educational system, he said, pointing to the efforts made by the Alliance.

He added, "The wall between school and working life has been too high. We want to move to a European model of apprenticeship and trial periods. That grades are falling in middle school is important and should be supplemented by national tests in grade six."

There will also be an evaluation of school municipalisation conducted in 1991. However, any proposal to renationalise the school will not happen in the next term of office because parties do not agree on it, said Bjorklund.

The Alliance has also made decided that carbon taxes need not be raised in the next government, said Olofsson. However, it would increase taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

Taxes specific to cigarettes would increase 8 percent, resulting in 700 million kronor in income to the public treasury. Tax on alcohol would increase 13 percent and include beer and wine, bringing in 1.1 billion kronor.

The Christian Democrats also pushed through one of their major concerns. There will be a tax credit for donations during the term of office costing 300 million kronor.

The Social Democrats' economy spokesman, Tomas Östros, slammed the Alliance manifesto. It was, he claimed "a cold manifesto."

"There's very little welfare and a lot of tax cuts," he said.

"The differences are now crystal clear and this will be a tough fight. This is tax cuts - especially for those who earn most - set against welfare."

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