Shadow budget focuses on jobs and pensioners

The Social Democrats promised generous tax cuts to pensioners in the shadow budged unveiled on Wednesday, going even further than the government in attempts to woo the over-60 vote.

Shadow budget focuses on jobs and pensioners

While the government’s recently unveiled autumn budget bill includes 2.5 billion ($390 million) in tax cuts for pensioners, the Social Democrats hope to sweeten the pot even further with an additional 1.3 billion kronor in tax reductions, the Expressen newspaper reported.

For the average pensioner, the Social Democrats’ proposal would result in a tax reduction of around 150 kronor per month.

The party’s economic policy spokeswoman, Magdalena Andersson, also said the Social Democrats planned to spend 5.1 billion kronor next year to guarantee that the 35,000 young people in Sweden who have been out of work for more than six months would have a job or be enrolled in job training programmes within 90 days.

Andersson called the investment “an important first step” toward the Social Democrats’ goal of Sweden having the lowest unemployment in the EU by 2020.

In addition, the party plans to spend 800 million kronor to train people to work in fields where there is currently a lack of qualified workers.

The Social Democrats also plan to devote 2.1 billion kronor to what Andersson called “more time for care” which will entail the employment of more workers within the health care sector as well as attempts to reduce the administrative burden they face.

Other initiatives the Social Democrats hope to fun include investments for smaller school classes, as well as raising the ceiling for unemployment insurance payments.

TT/The Local/dl

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PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

Sweden's Prime Minister has said that her party has brought forward the date for a decision on Nato membership by ten days, meaning a decision could be in place before a state visit by Finland's president in mid-May.

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The decision had previously been tabled for a meeting of the party board on May 24th, but could now be taken at an extra meeting of the Social Democrats ruling committee on May 15th, Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Thursday. 

“We will of course discuss the issue and then we can see if we feel ready to take a decision or not,” she said at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw. 

She said that the security guarantees Sweden has received from the US and Germany for the period between a possible application and full Nato membership were significant. 

“It means a lot if Sweden chooses to send in an application, that we will be safer during the period up until we become members than we otherwise would be,” she said. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” Party secretary Tobias Baudin he told Sweden’s TT newswire of the May 15th meeting. 

The meeting will come just two days after the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which includes representatives from all political parties, is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation. 

“It depends on what the security policy dialogue shows,” Baudin says of the decision. “Right now meetings in party districts are going at full pace.” 

The May 15th meeting will take place on the Sunday before the week when Finland’s Iltalehti and Sweden’s Expressen newspaper last month reported Finland and Sweden had already decided to jointly announce a decision to join Nato.

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, is due to visit Stockholm on 17th May and 18 May on a state visit, where he will be hosted by King Karl XVI Gustaf.  

The meeting of the Social Democrats’ ruling committee will come shortly after the party holds three digital members’ meetings on security policy, on May 9th, May 10th and May 12th (although these may also be brought forward). 

There is still resistance in the party’s rank and file, with at least three of the party’s powerful leagues still openly opposed to joining: 

  • The Social Democratic Women in Sweden voted last week to continue its opposition to Nato membership.
  • The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League has said it would prefer Sweden to bolster its security through the EU.
  • The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden has said that it believes the decision should not be rushed through at a time of conflict.  
  • The Social Democrat Students’ League has said that it wants to wait until it has seen the security police analysis before taking a decision. 

None of these leagues can block membership, however. It is the Social Democrats’ ruling party committee which is empowered to take the decision.