Archive: Gabriel Wikström, Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport

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Budget reforms for increased welfare and security

The Budget Bill for 2017 was presented on the 20th of September. Improvements in sickness and activity compensation, the establishment of a gender equality agency and better dental health for older people are some of the reforms in the areas for which the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs is responsible. The Budget Bill for 2017 is based on an agreement between the government parties and the Left Party.

Sweden must have quality welfare services we can rely on. This is why the Government has made major investments in health, education and social services. As Sweden's population grows, strengthening welfare becomes particularly important. The Government continues to prioritise welfare services in this budget and proposes that SEK 10 billion a year be made available to municipalities and county councils in general government grants.

"We are continuing the important work to close the health gaps and develop the Swedish model. This is being achieved not least through the welfare billions, investments in better dental health for older people and additional resources to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate for supervisory activities. We are also increasing access to care for traumatised asylum seekers and new arrivals," says Minister for Health Care, Public Health and Sport Gabriel Wikström.

Several of these budget investments also affect the more vulnerable groups in society and target in particular single women, families with children on low incomes and people receiving sickness and activity compensation.

"People feeling safe is an important part of building our society. Our common insurance schemes were very badly looked after during eight years of a government led by the Moderate Party. This is why I am very pleased to support investments that strengthen the Swedish model and build up our social insurance system again," says Minister for Social Security Annika Strandhäll.

The Government also intends to establish a gender equality agency that will become active at the beginning of 2018 to ensure that political priorities gain traction in government agencies and activities.

"Our feminist policy must have a clear impact and make a difference to people's lives. To ensure the effective implementation of gender equality policy, a special gender equality agency is needed. The Government will also prioritise preventive action to combat men's violence against women in a new national strategy with an action plan for the period 2017–2020," says Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér.

Below is some brief information about all reforms at the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs under each Minister's areas:

Reforms in Gabriel Wikström's areas

Doubling of the general dental care subsidy for people aged 65–74

The general dental care subsidy will be raised for people aged 65–74 from currently SEK 150 to SEK 300 per year. The increase will take effect on 1 July 2017.

Additional funding to the National Board of Health and Welfare for validation

The National Board of Health and Welfare will be allocated additional funding amounting to SEK 5 million for 2017. This is in addition to an earlier investment of SEK 42 million per year for validation of foreign health and medical care training.

Reinforcing the Health and Social Care Inspectorate

The Health and Social Care Inspectorate will be allocated temporary additional resources for the processing and supervision of homes for care or residence due to the large number of unaccompanied refugee children. The Health and Social Care Inspectorate will receive SEK 40 million in 2017 for this initiative. The Inspectorate will also receive permanent additional resources of SEK 70 million per year for staffing costs and to strengthen its supervision and licensing for personal assistance providers.

Investment to combat mental ill health among traumatised asylum seekers and new arrivals

SEK 40 million per year will be allocated to the care and treatment of asylum seekers and new arrivals who have had traumatic experiences, such as war, famine and torture, so as to combat mental ill health among this group.

Teams for long-term unemployed people to strengthen sports, outdoor activities and public health

The Swedish Sports Confederation will receive funds to create work teams of long-term unemployed people in five district sports associations. These work teams are to strengthen sports, outdoor activities and public health by organising activities, preparing walks, renovating facilities, etc.

Sports associations to receive stimulation for sports and youth leaders in socially vulnerable areas

SEK 14 million per year will be provided up to 2019 to enable more sports activities, leadership development, etc. in socially vulnerable areas. SEK 18 million per year will be provided during the period 2020–2025. These investments are expected to contribute to democratic values and physical activity.

Additional resources for sports activities for asylum seekers and new arrivals

The autumn amending budget contains an additional SEK 20 million for 2016 for asylum seekers' sports activities.

Reforms in Annika Strandhäll's areas:

Increased appropriation to Försäkringskassan

The appropriation to Försäkringskassan (the Swedish social insurance agency) will increase by SEK 130 million in 2017. These resources are to be used for the increased volumes in several social insurance benefits resulting from the increased number of new arrivals. Moreover, the resources are to be used for reforms to sickness and activity compensation and financial support to families. The resources are also for improving the quality of investigations and strengthening efforts to combat benefit fraud in the area of assistance allowance.

A trial period for studies while maintaining activity compensation

The Government proposes that a person who has received activity compensation due to reduced working capacity for at least twelve months should be able to try studying while still receiving activity compensation payments for a period of at most six months. It is proposed that this amendment enter into force on 1 February 2017.

Greater security to people entitled to hold sickness compensation dormant while working

A monthly amount equivalent to 25 per cent of the sickness compensation that has been declared dormant can be paid each month for a period of 24 months when sickness compensation is held dormant while a person is in gainful employment. It is proposed that this amendment enter into force on 1 February 2017.

Full sickness compensation from 19 years

The age limit for when full sickness compensation can be granted will be brought down to 19. This only applies to full compensation and to people who will probably never be able to work at all. People with serious disabilities will receive secure compensation whereas young people receiving activity compensation can expect measures to help them develop their work capacity. It is proposed that this amendment enter into force on 1 February 2017.

Increased guarantee compensation in sickness and activity compensation

The guarantee level for full sickness compensation and activity compensation will be raised by 0.05 price base amounts, which for people receiving full guarantee compensation means an increase of SEK 187 per month before tax per year, using the 2017 price base amount.It is proposed that this amendment enter into force on 1 July 2017.

Increased housing supplement for people receiving sickness and activity compensation

The compensation rate in the housing supplement will be increased from 93 to 95 per cent. This increase will provide at most an additional SEK 100 in housing supplement per month.

In total, the increase in guarantee compensation and the increase in the housing supplement mean that approximately 200 000 people will receive on average just over SEK 2 000 per year from 2018.

It is proposed that this amendment enter into force on 1 January 2017.

Raised income thresholds in housing allowance

It is proposed that the income thresholds in housing allowance provided to families with children be raised from SEK 117 000 to SEK 127 000 for single people and from SEK 58 500 to SEK 63 500 for couples. It is proposed that this increase enter into force on 1 January 2017.

Increased maintenance support for older children

The Government intends to submit legislative proposals for differentiation in the amount of maintenance support received by increasing it for children who are 15 and older.

Combined with the increase in maintenance support for older children, the Government will also look into increasing the basic income tax allowance for parents required to pay maintenance.

These increases are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2018.

Increased large-family supplement

The Government proposes an increase in the large-family supplement for the third child of SEK 126 per month. It is proposed that this increase enter into force on 1 January 2017.

Increased level for adoption allowance

The Government intends to raise the adoption allowance to SEK 75 000. This will mean that the allowance will cover 33 per cent of parents' average costs. It is proposed that the amendment enter into force on 1 January 2017.

Modernised support for parents living apart

The Government intends to introduce a new special allowance in the housing allowance for children who live alternately with both parents. This means that a certain form of housing is not favoured and that the child's registered residence does not determine his or her right to support.

Reforms in Åsa Regnér's areas

Plans to establish a gender equality agency in 2018

The Government intends to establish a gender equality agency, to be operational from the beginning of 2018. For the Government to ensure that gender equality policy priorities are reflected in the management of government agencies and activities, a permanent structure at national level is needed.

National strategy to combat men's violence against women

Before the end of the year, the Government will present a new national strategy to combat men's violence against women in the Government Communication on gender equality policy. The range of measures to prevent and combat men's violence against women comprise over SEK 900 million for the period 2017–2020.

Reinforced appropriation to the National Board of Institutional Care

The National Board of Institutional Care needs to expand the number of places available in its activities due to increased demand. The Government proposes increasing the appropriation by SEK 40 million in 2017 and estimates that the appropriation should increase by an additional SEK 10 million from 2018, which means a total of SEK 50 million per year.

National knowledge centre for unaccompanied minors

The Government intends to set up a national knowledge centre at the National Board of Health and Welfare for issues concerning unaccompanied minors. The aim is to disseminate knowledge, successful methods and effective processes to the municipalities, county councils and responsible agencies that implement measures for unaccompanied minors. The National Board of Health and Welfare will receive SEK 10 million per year in 2017 and 2018 for this initiative. It will then receive SEK 5 million per year in 2019 and 2020.

Contact

Helena Paues
Press Secretary to Minister for Health care, Public Health and Sport Gabriel Wikström
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Tora Heckscher
Press Secretary to Minister for Social Security Annika Strandhäll
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00
Joanna Abrahamsson
Press Secretary to Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00