Budget Focuses on (Un-)Employment

Sweden’s centre-right government presented its spring budget Wednesday. It focuses on measures to reduce the national impact of the global economic downturn.

Speaking in parliament, Finance Minister Anders Borg painted a grim picture of the country’s financial state.

Borg expects unemployment to soar to levels not seen since the early 1990’s when a domestic banking crisis plunged the country into a recession that wrought havoc to public finances as well as the wider economy.

The government intends to double the budget for special labour market measures to 11 billion dollars. At the same time, Borg ruled out providing more money to municipalities. In a time of global financial instability, he says it is important to maintain stable domestic finances, adding that he understands that municipalities want more money from the state to compensate for falling tax revenues caused by the economic downturn.

Thomas Östros, the economic spokesperson for the largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, rejected the government’s supplementary budget for emphasising the wrong issues. He says the government’s policy of reducing taxes will not create more jobs.

Instead, he says the government should increase its investments in infrastructure, welfare and education.