Government, Left Party agree on budget

The red-green government has agreed a spring budget proposal with the Left Party, Swedish Radio News has learnt. The Prime Minister will hold a press conference late on Monday afternoon.

Recent tough moves to limit immigration and asylum by the red-green government had caused some in the Left Party to want to break their support for the coming spring budget, but the voices who wanted to cooperate with Prime Minister Löfven have prevailed, reports Swedish Radio News, from its sources.

In order to gain most votes in the Swedish parliament the budget proposal needs not just the votes of the governing Green Party and Social Democrats, but also of the Left Party, which is sympathetic but formally in opposition after being denied seats in the cabinet.

In a joint statement published in tabloid Aftonbladet, three leaders of the Left Party, Social Democrat Party, and the Green Party have set out what they call the ten “welfare billions” that the spring budget will give to local municipal and county councils.

These ten billions were a demand from the Left Party, reports news agency TT. It estimates the money will allow the local authorities to employ tens of thousands more nurses, teachers and social workers.

Other measures in the spring budget proposal include broadening certain tax breaks, as part of an earlier agreement with the centre-right opposition Alliance.

The so-called December Agreement with the centre-right made after the 2014 election allowed the weak red-green government to pass its own budget by default, despite having a minority of the seats in parliament, even counting the Left Party.

The upcoming spring budget could be defeated if the Alliance propose a joint budget, and if the Sweden Democrats vote for it in order to provoke a crisis of confidence in the government, but this move is deeply controversial within the Alliance.