Social Democrats promise more jobs and better schools

4:05 min

The Social Democrats promise SEK 40 billion investment to stimulate jobs and welfare, if they win the election.

Only a day after the four party government Alliance presented its election manifesto, four of the top-names in the Social Democrats got up on stage to present what their party will do if they win the election.

Party leader Stefan Löfven started the press conference by saying "Sweden is about to break. Many people say they are tired of a political debate that is only about if we can get a few kroner more in our own wallets, instead of talking about what we can create together".

The manifesto, called "A better Sweden. For everybody", includes reforms and investment of SEK 40,5 billion until 2018. The biggest chunks of this goes to education, infrastructure and to combat youth unemployment. The total sum of the investments can be compared to the manifesto of the Alliance, which promised only SEK 13,5 billion extra during the same period.

The Social Democrats intend to finance their reforms by scrapping the discount on pay-roll tax for young people and by restoring the VAT on restaurant food back to 25 percent (from 12 percent). They will also raise the taxes for those who earn more than SEK 60,000 per month. Pensioners, on the other hand, will get lower taxes, to follow the Government's line of tax cuts for people who are working.

Education is placed at the centre of the manifesto, with the party proposing higher salaries for teachers and bigger freedom for them to plan their lessons. Extra homework support will be introduced to all, with state money going to those schools and children in biggest need.

At the press conference, the Social Democrat spokesperson Mikael Damberg criticised the government, saying "the longer this government has been in power, the more school results fallen."

Matilde Millares, a political scientist at Stockholm University, tells Radio Sweden that for her, the manifesto launch spent too much time focusing on the government.  

"What stands out for me is that they spent so much time criticisng the government and not on presenting their own ideas."

Reacting to the manifesto, the leader of the conservative Moderate Party, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said: "This is a u-turn back to where we came from. It leads to a weaker and worse Sweden. It is what we have warned about: higher taxes on the young, on business and on jobs. It will not lead to sustainable jobs. Yet again will they tackle the problems of the labour market by giving people early retirement."