Joblessness in Sweden to remain high: Borg

The government expects unemployment in Sweden to remain high in the coming years, according to forecasts in the autumn budget bill presented on Wednesday by Finance Minister Anders Borg.

Joblessness in Sweden to remain high: Borg

“Unemployment is not expected to show clear signs of falling until the end of 2015,” Borg said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sweden’s unemployment rate is forecast to reach 8.2 percent in 2014 and remain above seven percent for the next few years before dipping down to 6.4 percent in 2017.

While Borg conceded that the global recession that has plagued Europe in recent years had adversely impacted Sweden, the country’s economy had fared fairly well by comparison.

“Sweden is in a position of strength that allows fiscal policy to support measures for growth and jobs,” the statement read.

Borg emphasized that the main priority of the government is employment and policies to encourage job creation in growing companies in the wake of the economic crisis.

“What’s critical for Sweden are job creation measures and that more companies can grow and hire so that more people get jobs and unemployment is pushed back from the high level following the crisis,” Borg wrote.

GDP growth is expected to climb from 1.2 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent in 2014, reaching 3.9 percent in 2016 before falling back to 2.9 percent in 2017.

A weak global economy as well as increased expenditures for sickness benefits and other welfare system transfers will result in limited room in the budget for major reforms in 2014.

In addition to job creation measures, the government plans to boost household finances by spending roughly 20 billion ($3.1 billion) of the 24 billion kronor ($3.7 billion) that have been set aside in the budget for reforms.

Sweden is expected to run a deficit of 1.2 percent, not reaching the government’s goal of a one percent surplus until 2017.

TT/The Local/dl

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Sweden boosts spending on civil defence in spring budget

Sweden is to channel a further 800 million kronor to local government and other organisations to bolster Sweden's civil defence capabilities, the country's finance minister has announced.

Sweden boosts spending on civil defence in spring budget

The new funding, which will go to municipalities, regional government, and other organisations, was announced of part of the country’s spring budget, announced on Tuesday. 

“This will strengthen our ability to resist in both war and peace,” Sweden’s finance minister, Mikael Damberg, said in a press conference. “If the worst happens, it’s important that there is physical protection for the population.” 

The government is channelling 91m kronor towards renovating Sweden’s 65,000 bomb shelters, and will also fund the repair the country’s network of emergency sirens, known as Hesa Fredrik, or Hoarse Fredrik, many of which are currently out of order. 

A bomb shelter in Stockholm. Sweden’s government is spending 800m kronor in its spring budget to boost civil defence. Photo: Anders Wiklund/ TT

Sweden’s Social Democrats are currently ruling on the alternative budget put together by the right-wing opposition, making this spring budget, which makes changes to the autumn budget, unusually important. 

The budget includes extra spending of some 31.4 billion kronor (€299m), with 500m kronor going to extra spending on healthcare,  and 10.3 billion kronor going towards supporting Ukrainian refugees, of which nine billion will come from the aid budget. 

The spring budget also includes the so called “pension guarantee bonus”, or garantitillägg, which will see four billion kronor (€390m) going to those with the lowest pensions. 

The bonus, which was the price the Left Party demanded for letting Magdalena Andersson take her place as prime minister, risks being voted down by the right-wing parties in the parliament.