Finance Minister: tax break could help refugees get jobs
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson is prepared to expand a tax deduction on household services to help newly arrived refugees find work in Sweden, even though her party has traditionally been skeptical of this sort of tax break.
Speaking with newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Andersson said Sweden must come to terms with the need to integrate the tens of thousands of people who have sought asylum here.
While unemployment among native-born Swedes is expected to drop next year, unemployment among foreign-born Swedes is rising.
"We have some homework to do in Sweden. This applies not only to politics, but also business. This is something we need to do together and I think it is important that we are open and pragmatic," Andersson told the newspaper.
Andersson suggested expanding the so-called RUT tax break, which offers tax deductions on labor costs for housework, like cleaning, doing laundry or basic lawn care.
RUT was originally introduced by the previous, center-right government, known as the Alliance, and while proponents have said it helps keep service jobs above board, critics have held that the subsidy benefits the wealthy.
Andersson's party, the Social Democrats, have traditionally been among the critics. But now, Andersson has embraced the idea as a way to create simple jobs. She told the newspaper that she's open to good ideas, and what is most important is cost effectiveness, rather than getting locked into ideology.
Under an agreement between the government and the Alliance opposition, the RUT subsidy would be expanded to also cover moving services, IT work at home and other gardening work.