Left Party to focus on pre-school staff reform

Left Party to focus on pre-school staff reform
A pre-school class in the 1980s. File photo: Private
The minority opposition Left Party wants to reduce pre-school class sizes and invest in staff, it said ahead of releasing its proposed budget for the next political term.

The Left Party is likely to form some kind of cooperation with the Social Democrats and Greens if there's a shift in government after the September elections. A key focus for party would then be to cap the number of children in pre-school. This would ease the burden on the staff, it says. 

"It's obvious that they don't have enough time no matter how much they try," financial spokeswoman Ulla Andersson said about the working conditions in an interview with public broadcaster SVT.

At present, there are on average 20 children per teacher in Sweden's pre-schools. 

The party would also like children whose parents are on parental leave to have better access to pre-schools. Currently, a child with a parent at home, for example because the family has welcomed another child, can only attend classes for 15 hours a week. The Left Party would like to increase that to 30 hours.

The reform would also allow children whose parents are unemployed to spend more time in pre-school.

The pre-school investment would cost 7.1 billion ($1.08 billion), with 750 million ($114 million) earmarked for employing more staff. The Left Party, which presents its full budget next Tuesday, would pay for the reforms by revoking the centre-right government's reduction in restaurant VAT. 

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