Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund presents the shadow Spring budget at a press conference. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Liberals call for tax cuts and defence spending

Tax cuts, increased defence spending and lower benefits are some measures proposed by Sweden's Liberal Party, which presented its shadow budget Tuesday.

“Work must pay off. That is our most important message,” Liberal Party leader Jan Björklund said as he opened Tuesday’s press conference where he presented his party’s shadow Spring budget.

Björklund referred to recent complaints from the music-streaming service Spotify about conditions for doing business in Sweden and said taxes should be cut so that “work pays off”.

Citing Russia’s aggressive behavior and the latent threat against the Baltic states, the Liberals propose investing an additional SEK 10 million in Sweden’s defence over the next five years. The national defence levy should also be scrapped, the party says.

In addition, the Liberals want to lower employment taxes and tighten unemployment and sick leave benefits. Furthermore, unaccompanied refugee minors should have easier access to accommodation and Syrians seeking residence permits should be offered a fast-track solution, according to the shadow Spring budget.

The Liberals also oppose several of the red-green government’s measures, including its trainee jobs proposal and proposals to introduce subsidies for housing construction.

Liberal economic spokesman Erik Ullenhag said the party’s proposed budget would spend SEK 10 billion less than current government’s budget would.

The Liberals gained 5.4 percent of the votes in the 2014 election. They were part of the previous centre-right Alliance government, in coalition with the conservative Moderate party, the Center Party and the Christian Democrats.

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