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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

UPDATED: What changes in Sweden in September 2022?

Swedish election, raised prices at Systembolaget, changes to health insurance rules and the end of the fuel subsidy. Here's what's changing in Sweden in September.

UPDATED: What changes in Sweden in September 2022?
Systembolaget. Photo: Ari Luostarinen/SvD/TT

Election

The largest and most obvious change next month will take place on September 11th, when Swedes will go to the polls.

At the time of writing this, both the right-wing bloc, consisting of the Moderates, Sweden Democrats, Christian Democrats and Liberals, and the left-wing bloc, consisting of the Social Democrats, Centre Party, Left Party and Green Party, appear to be roughly neck-and-neck, so it’s difficult to say whether September will bring a new prime minister and ruling party, or if Magdalena Andersson will keep her job.

If the right-wing bloc win September’s election, Moderate party leader Ulf Kristersson is likely to take over as Sweden’s next prime minister, although a narrow win for either bloc could lead to weeks – or even months – of negotiations between the parliamentary parties, before Sweden’s next government is decided.

Raised prices at Systembolaget

State-owned alcohol monopoly Systembolaget reviews its prices twice a year, in March and September. September’s price increase will come into force on the 1st of the month, with price increasing on average by 2 percent – although this may be higher for some drinks.

Rose-Marie Hertzman, head of press at Spendrups brewery, predicts that “a can of beer will go up by one krona”.

With the average price of a can of beer at 14 kronor, a one-krona price hike would represent an increase of 7 percent.

One of the reasons behind the price increases is the rising costs of ingredients and transport. On top of that, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having an effect.

“No one likes price increases, but as for all branches, we need to compensate in some way for these enormous price increases we’ve been seeing,” Hertzman said.

Increased costs has pushed up the price of malt and hops, as well as packing materials such as aluminium and glass. On top of that, energy and transport costs have also risen.

The price of wine is also expected to rise, due in part to a bad grape harvest in central Europe, coupled with a low krona pushing up costs for Swedish wine importers.

Fuel subsidy ends

At the end of September, the temporary tax subsidy on fuel, introduced in spring, will end.

There are currently no plans to extend the subsidy, which was originally introduced to lower the costs of petrol and diesel for Swedish households, finance minister Mikael Damberg told TT earlier in August. Parliament has not held extra meetings over the summer to discuss extending the subsidy, either.

“Parliament consider this to be a temporary measure,” he told TT.

Petrol and diesel taxes were lowered on May 1st in order to put at-pump prices down by 1 krona and 80 öre. 50 öre of that tax cut is due to the right-wing oppositions’ budget, so that will continue to apply.

The other 1 krona 30 öre will no longer apply, as it was due to run from May until the end of Septmeber.

Since the tax cut was implemented, fuel prices have fluctuated with at-pump prices following close behind. The government believes that the cut has cost the state around six billion kronor in lost income.

Drop-in covid booster vaccines open up to all adults in Stockholm

According to Region Stockholm, 18-64 year olds in the region will be offered a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine this autumn.

Booking is planned to open at the end of August, with drop-ins offered from September 12th.

The Public Health Agency also recommends that all over 65, as well as everyone in risk groups take a fifth dose of the Covid vaccine. Booking for these groups is already open, with vaccinations due to take place in September.

Changes to Social Security Agency’s sickness benefit rules

The Social Security Agency (Försäkringskassan) will implement two changes to sickness benefits (sjukförsäkring) from September 1st.

The first change affects benefits for those on long-term sickness benefits. After day 180 on sickness benefits, the recipient’s ability to work will be assessed within a specific profession. If Försäkringskassan does not grant sickness benefit, they must provide one or more professions in which the recipient would be able to work.

For the unemployed, this assessment applies from their first day on sickness benefits.

The second change applies to those on sickness benefit over the age of 60. In this case, their ability to work will be assessed against usual work they have carried out within the last 15 years, or other suitable available roles.

This is a change from current rules, where ability to work is assessed against all available positions on the labour market.

Those on sickness benefit who have not worked within the last fifteen years will be assessed according to current rules.

New laws to protect consumers

On September 1st, a number of new laws designed to protect consumers will come into effect.

The first of these will stop ‘false’ sales, forcing companies to state the lowest price of an item 30 days before a sale, in order to stop companies from raising prices just before sales.

Information on customer reviews will also be made more clear, with companies responsible for explaining how they have ensured that a review comes from a real customer who has used the product in question.

Additionally, second-hand sales of tickets to events will be regulated, banning the use of computer programmes to buy large amounts of tickets for resale.

Rules on what information must be provided when buying items online will also be tightened up, to make it more clear who is responsible for selling the product. 

Companies breaking these rules could end up paying a hefty fine – the previous max fine of 10 million kronor has been scrapped, with fees instead representing 4 percent of the company’s yearly profit for the previous year.

E-scooters banned on pavements

From the 1st of September, it will be illegal to ride e-scooters on pavements, with those flouting the new law risking fines.

In addition to this, it will also be forbidden to park e-scooters on pavements and cycle lanes. 

With these new measures, e-scooters will now follow the same rules as traditional bicycles.

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WHAT CHANGES IN SWEDEN

What changes in Sweden in January 2023?

Sweden's EU presidency, royal jubilee, BankID reforms, and new laws affecting workers, drivers, students and personal finances: here's what changes in Sweden in January.

What changes in Sweden in January 2023?

Sweden’s EU Presidency

Sweden are taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from the Czech Republic on January 1st, in a six-month role ending on June 23rd. Sweden’s goals for this role are, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson explained, “keeping the EU together on the issue of Ukraine”, adding that the war in Ukraine “will affect the entire Swedish presidency”.

In January, the entire EU Commission will also visit Sweden, more specifically Jukkasjärvi in Kiruna, northern Sweden, together with the Swedish government and Sweden’s King and Queen.

Swedish King begins 50th Jubilee celebrations

That brings us nicely on to the next event happening in 2023: King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 50th jubilee, which falls on September 15th.

Celebrations will start in January, however, where the King and Queen will hold a “Sverigemiddag” or “Sweden Dinner” in Stockholm on the 27th. All of Sweden’s county leaders will be invited, and they will be allowed to hand pick significant people from their respective counties to “set the tone” (tongivande människor)

Throughout the year, the King and Queen will visit all 21 of Sweden’s counties, where the couple will ride in cortege with a horse-drawn carriage in those counties where this will be possible.

There will also be public events and a photo exhibition which will follow the royals up and down the country, with performances of the new “Carl XVI Gustaf’s Jubilee March”.

BankID reforms

A proposal to create a new state-run alternative to BankID is to be submitted to parliament next year, with a deadline of January 31st, 2023. It’s not clear yet what that proposal will entail, but it’s something to keep an eye on for those in Sweden who don’t qualify for BankID.

New laws coming into place in January

A number of new laws are also coming into place in January, which we’ll outline here.

Older workers

The right to keep working will be extended from 68 years to the day a worker turns 69, and people over the age of 65 will also pay a reduced rate of tax from January.

At the same time, the lowest age for accessing an income-based pension will be raised from 62 to 63 years, with the lowest age for receiving a guarantee pension raised from 65 to 66 years.

Property owners

For those living in a bostadsrätt, a flat or a terraced house in a housing association, new rules will come into place for renovations, which will make it clearer for owners to understand which kind of renovations require permission from the board of the housing association.

Another new law for bostadsrätt owners which is linked to this, is a law allowing bostadsrätt owners who disagree with the board’s decision to appeal to the hyresnämnd, literally ‘rent tribunal’, rather than the current situation which requires an expensive legal process in the general courts.

Illegal renovations without permission from the board could also result in bostadsrätt owners forfeiting the right to live in their property from next year.

For those considering buying a new-build bostadsrätt which has not yet been constructed, the right to better information on the contract and any risks will be strengthened, and a limit will be placed on the predicted time for creation of the legal bostadsrätt, which will be set at three months or less.

Drivers

The old system of reseavdrag, travel deductions for journeys to and from work, will remain, but drivers using this system will receive more money. The deduction for journeys in a private car will increase from 18.5 kronor to 25 kronor per 10km.

Despite the climate bonus for new cars being scrapped, all those who bought or ordered a car before November 8th will be able to receive the bonus. If the car is registered in the road traffic register after January 1st, 2023, the highest possible bonus for pure electric cars will be at most 50,000 kronor, or 10,000 kronor for hybrid cars which release a maximum of 30 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

In 2023, drivers without licences on practice drives must carry ID. Drivers who attempt to cheat on tests at the Swedish Transport Administration, who issue drivers licences, could also be banned from tests for one or two years, from January.

Students

People with student loans will have to pay a slight increase on the interest on their loans from 2023, in order to finance the state’s losses on student loans. They will, however, be compensated for this by being offered the possibility to extend the deadline for repayment.

It will also become more expensive to undertake the högskoleprov, the test required for university study in Sweden, with the registration fee going up from 450 to 550 kronor in 2023.

Students taking this test can also expect security checks, such as metal detector checks, when entering rooms where the test will be taken, in order to combat cheating.

For personal finances

A number of changes which will affect household finances in Sweden will also come into effect in 2023.

Alcohol tax will be raised, with a can of strong beer going up by around 50 öre, or half a krona, a bottle of wine going up by 1.30 kronor, and a small bottle of spirits increasing by one krona.

Tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products like snus will also increase, putting the price for these products up by around one krona.

On the other hand, TV and radio licence fees will decrease, as income from these fees has been higher than expected over the past few years. In 2023, it should cost no more than 1,300 kronor per person per year.

Some types of benefit which were temporarily raised during the pandemic and were due to go down to previous levels will remain at the higher level under 2023. This includes unemployment insurance and activity support – a type of benefit for people looking for work who are taking part in a programme run by the Unemployment Agency – as well as temporary benefits for families with small children who receive housing benefits.

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