Man in glasses by a microphone, gesturing
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Ulf Kristersson of the conservative Moderate Party. Credit: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Man in glasses, tie and suit, talking in a microphone.
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Christian Democrat's economic spokesperson Jakob Forssmed Credit: Bertil Ericson / TT

Opposition says government is "wasting the good times"

Ulf Kristersson: They use money for the easy stuff
3:57 min

The centre-right opposition criticised the government budget for lack of long-term reforms, and warned the economy may over-heat due to all the spending.

At a press conference on Wednesday, the economic spokesperson of the biggest opposition party, Ulf Kristersson of the Moderates, accused the government of acting like Sweden was in a recession, when the economy is already booming.

"I think this is wasting the good times in the economy. They use it for the easy stuff, spending the money that is coming in, instead of the difficult stuff, using resources to help long-term reforms," he said.

Kristersson, who is also likely to be the next leader of the Moderate Party, when Anna Kinberg Batra formally steps down in the beginning of October, then said what he thinks the government should do instead. He spoke of the need to strenghten public finances, "do something about the big, long-term integration and labour market problems", making reforms "so that more people work longer and improve their pension longer-term", and then housing reforms, reforms for growth, welfare reforms to meet the challenges of future demographics, and reforms to make health care more accessible and increase the quality in the public sector.

Meanwhile, the Christian Democrat party's economic spokesperson Jakob Forssmed compared the government's budget to a bag of sweets, full of sugar and colouring, which will give a sugar rush, but ends in a sugar crash. He says that Sweden's period of growth will end at some point.

"We are nearing a recession and the government is not equipping Sweden to deal with it. The real, structural reforms are missing," he said in a statement.

Also the Centre Party's economic spokesperson Emil Källström criticised the government for not doing long-lasting reforms of the labour market and the housing market.

"The government does nothing to get those who are new to the country into jobs. There is a growing lower class which does not get a share of the boom," he wrote in a statement, saying that the government is "missing its chance completely".

The Liberal Party's economic spokesperson Mats Person was also accusing the government of short-termism, they are "partying like there is no tomorrow" he said. At the same time, the government is failing with one of its foremost goals, to have the lowest unemployment in the EU by 2020, he said. According to Persson, the government has abolished low-skilled jobs and has an unreasonable faith in the state employment service.

The Sweden Democrats are not part of the four party opposition alliance, but is the third biggest party in parliament. Its economic spokesperson Oscar Sjöstedt accused the government's budget for being "short-term, almost populistic" at a time when the Bank of Sweden has set a negative interest-rate. He said the government should be saving for a rainy day. He did welcome the extra money for health care and maternity wards, but said too much money is being spent on migration, integration and job-creation schemes that do not work.

Another critic could be found in the CEO of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, Carola Lemne. She said the budget shows the government cares more about the election than welfare of people.

"In an already heated economy, the government is increasing spending further. This increases the risk of overheating and future problems. At the same time the government does not do anything about Sweden's big structural problems, among them a badly functioning labour market and harmful taxes," Lemne said in a statement.

Economist Maria Landeborn at Skandia bank was also wary.
"There is a clear risk in stimulating household spending this strongly in the middle of an economic boom and with such low interest rates. The risk for a hangover is significant," she told news agency TT.

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