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Sweden's growing wealth gap 'troubling': Borg

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Sweden's growing wealth gap 'troubling': Borg
11:32 CET+01:00
Figures showing financial improvements for Sweden's middle and upper classes, at the same time the country's poorest have seen their incomes decline have given finance minister something to fret about.

Figures showing that income differences are on the rise in Sweden, with most household wallets growing fatter, as those with lowest income fall behind, are 'troubling', according to minister of finance Anders Borg.

Nearly everyone in Sweden has seen their incomes rise in the last five years.

However, those included in the ten percent of the population earning the least have seen their incomes fall by 5.5 percent, or 350 kronor ($50) per month after tax, according to figures from Statistics Sweden.

In the same time, incomes for the ten percent of the Swedish population earning the most have risen by 7,300 kronor, or roughly 23 percent.

According to the statistics, the higher income a someone had in 2005, the greater percentage increase in income they experienced in the last five years.

Figures indicating that Sweden's rich are getting richer while the country's least well-off earn less don't sit well with finance minister Anders Borg.

"We ought to have a country that sticks together, and it's naturally troubling to see indications of the opposite," he told news agency TT.

Borg suggested potential changes in government spending he envisions may help put a stop to the trend.

Increased subsidies for pensioners and families with young children, as well as loosening the strict rules for receiving welfare, are some possible changes he suggested.

However, the growing income differences should be no surprise to Borg, or the centre-right government, as their own budget proposal for 2010 included the prediction that lowering income taxes would lead to growing income gaps.

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