Woman talking from a podium with a pack of red books next to her.
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson presenting the budget for 2018. Credit: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Budget benefits pensioners and families with children

Magdalena Andersson: We have lowered public debt by 20 percentage points
2:55 min

The Swedish government is raising child support by SEK 200 per month in its last Autumn budget before the election.

Many other groups will also benefit from this budget, including pensioners who will see tax cuts which will leave them with up to SEK 410 per month in their wallet.

When presenting the budget on Wednesday morning, Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said that the reforms the government is now introducing "are important to continue strengthening the Swedish model".

Altogether, the government wants to increase the spending by SEK 43.8 billion next year. It predicts that the Swedish economy will grow by 3.1 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent next year.

Andersson noted that the growth during 2015 was extreme, but that it will slow in the next few years.

"We will enter a more normal level of growth during the coming years," said Magdalena Andersson.

The government expects the unemployment to drop below 6 per cent next year, although there are big differences between people born in Sweden, and those who ahve come here more recently.

Altogether, the budget includes an extra SEK 43 billion in spending, which several commentators have noted is a much bigger amount than government are normally able to spend.

But Magdalena Andersson stressed this is still a responsible budget, as the government has been good at paying off the public debt, and will continue to do so.

"We have the lowest public debt since 1977. What we have done during this term in office is that we have ensured that we pay off the public debt, so that we can equip ourselves for worse times. During this period, we have lowered the public debt by 10 percentage points," she said.

We have not borrowed one single krona to pay for the refugee crisis. On the contrary, we have been paying off the national debt also during these years,"

She also noted that the proportion of people on benefits has been going down during their term in office, and that it will continue to go down in the years to come.

With the tax cut for pensioners, taxes overall are going down in this budget, but in in a few areas they will be going up. One completely new tax is the tax on airline travel. This will mean airplane tickets will cost between 60 and 400 kronor more depending on how far you travel, from the 1st of April next year.

Where the money is going:

  • The child benefit will be raised by SEK 200 per month and child from March next year. The government will spend an extra SEK 4.5 billion to pay for this.
  • Lower tax for pensioners. The proposal, costing SEK 4.4 billion, will give lower tax to three quarters of all pensioners. Those with the lowest pension will benefit most from this, getting up to SEK 410 more per month.
  • Education, job subsidies and support for local councils who offer unemployed people entry-level jobs. This costs SEK 4.3 billion. People who are new in Sweden will be obliged to do training.
  • An extra 5.7 billion goes to healthcare, including money directed at midwives and hospital delivery units.
  • Another SEK 2.7 billion annually to defence until 2020.
  • The foreign aid budget will be strengthened by SEK 8 billion next year, a large part of that is money that in the last few years have been used to refugee reception in Sweden. A substantial part of the aid budget will go to family planning projects, which have seen their funding cut by the new US administration.
  • Police will get SEK 2 billion extra during 2018, increasing further the following two years. 
  • More money for prisons, juvenile detentions centres and customs. SEK 748 million for more pre-trial detention, and for the customs to do more checks regarding illegal weapons and narcotics.
  • Extra money for schools based on how deprived the area is. Next year the government will spend SEK 1.5 billion on this, increasing yearly up to 6 SEK billion in 2020.
  • Vulnerable areas in big-city suburbs as well as in the country-side will get SEK 500 million. This is a demand from the Left Party, which will support the Social Democrat-Green government’s budget in the parliamentary vote. Municipalities will be able to apply for this money to support areas where there is high unemployment, low education and few people taking part in elections. The money should go to jobs, education, services and social support. The funds should be available to apply for over the next ten years, and is supposed to be increased to SEK 2.5 billion annually by 2020.
  • Extra support for more remote areas, under the slogan "all of Sweden shall live". SEK 1.2 billion to services and improved living conditions in more remote areas, green jobs all around the country, small businesses, education and infrastructure, including better roads and public transport. The green jobs shall go to people who have been long-term unemployed.
  • A tax rebate for trade union fees will be re-introduced from July 2019. This is expected to cost SEK 2.7 billion per year, and mean that millions of Swedes will pay SEK 100 less per month.
  • Cheaper electric bikes, more electric charging stations and subsidises to household solar electricity. An extra SEK 2.8 million is to be spent on environment and climate proposals during 2018. Plus SEK 600 million to clean up the seas from pharmaceutical waste, toxic waste and old shipwrecks, plus plastic waste.

Tax increases:

  • Private savers who have ISK or capital insurance accounts will be taxed an estimated SEK 790 million.
  • A new tax on airline travel will be introduced, taxing by SEK 60, 250 or 400 depending on the length of the flight.
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