“I can calmly state that the government’s policies aren’t working,” Andersson, the former head of the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), told the party faithful who have gathered in Gothenburg for the Social Democrat party congress.
“They believe the unemployed and the sick are lazy and don’t want to work.”
She emphasized that the Social Democrats’ mission is to give people the ability to make a journey in life, by creating more jobs and improving Sweden’s schools.
Andersson also slammed the centre-right government coalition led by Fredrik Reinfeldt for lowering taxes “at every turn”, before she outlined the main opposition’ party’s plans.
“Investments for the future will always go before huge tax cuts.”
The Social Democrats’ governing board wants the party to maintain many of the current government’s income tax cuts, as well as tax deductions on household services (RUT).
It is a move that has angered the party’s more left-leaning faction, with a formal decision expected to be taken later on. The party congress wraps up on Sunday.
Andersson’s speech comes after party leader Stefan Löfven opened the congress on Wednesday night. In his speech, he said Sweden should have the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union by 2020.
“It seems Sweden has a government whose trademark skill is not to take responsibility,” Löfven said.
He pointed out that 427,000 people are looking for work in Sweden at the same time that companies are complaining they cannot find workers with the right competence.
At the moment, 8 percent of Swedes are without work. According to Eurostat, Austria has the lowest jobless rate in the EU at 4.8 percent
Löfven, meanwhile, set an ambitious target. He vowed to get Swedish unemployment lower even than former Social Democrat Prime Minister Göran Persson’s 4-percent target.
He said he would not do so by simply inflating the public sector.
“It’s not going to be easy, but it gives us a clear focus and with hard work every day we can get there step by step,” Löfven said.
“Every sector needs to contribute,” he said.
He is expected to be officially elected as leader by party members during the congress later on Thursday.