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Spring Fiscal Policy Bill 2015: A Sweden that keeps together
Today the Government is presenting its proposed direction for economic policy ahead of the Budget Bill for 2016. At the same time, reforms amounting to SEK 8 billion are being presented, which will take effect in 2015. The starting point is the policy that was presented in the Budget Bill last autumn. The reforms focus on more jobs and greater competitiveness, knowledge-based education in equal schools with more time for each pupil, a sustainable future and increased welfare and security. The Spring Fiscal Policy Bill and the proposals in the spring amending budget are based on an agreement between the government parties and the Left Party.
“Sweden is facing a number of major future challenges that we must tackle. At the same time, the large deficits mean that our reforms must be fully funded. We are now prioritising investments in our common future for more jobs and greater competitiveness, knowledge-based education in equal schools with time for each pupil, a better environment and increased welfare and security,” says Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson.
The Swedish economy is recovering and the global economy also appears to be growing stronger. But this recovery is expected to go slowly, particularly in the euro area. The risks of weaker growth remain significant, with poorer economic development in the euro area considered the largest single risk.
Unemployment has become entrenched at a high level and many people have been out of work for a long time.
The deficit in public sector finances is expected to decline from 2015 onwards as a result of the economic recovery and the responsible conduct of economic policy. Net lending is estimated to be -1.4 per cent of GDP in 2015 and is expected to be in balance in 2018.
In the spring amending budget, reforms totalling SEK 8 billion in 2015 are proposed. The proposals are based on the economic policy that the Government presented in its Budget Bill for 2015.
More jobs and greater competitiveness
One of the Government's most important tasks during this electoral period is to reduce unemployment permanently and increase employment. More people must have a job to go to and fewer must be part-time unemployed. Sweden needs a knowledge boost. The Government is therefore increasing public sector investments in infrastructure, industrial policy and education to strengthen competitiveness and improve matching in the labour market.
Knowledge-based education in equal schools with time for each pupil
Strengthening learning outcomes in school is necessary – both to keep Sweden together and to ensure Sweden’s competitiveness in the long term. To strengthen learning outcomes, teachers must have more time with each pupil, the quality of teaching must be improved and resources must be provided to areas where the challenges are greatest. The Government is therefore proposing reforms that focus on early action, a more attractive teaching profession and that all schools must be good schools.
A sustainable future
The Government's objective is a resource-efficient economy in which consideration for the environment is a natural part of the development of society. Environmental degradation must be stopped and climate emissions reduced. Reduced climate emissions require various types of measures and cohesive global and national political action. The Government is therefore proposing measure for climate investments and measures for biodiversity and nature conservation.
Increased welfare and security
Resources for welfare must be increased and income differentials between women and men must be reduced. Too many people – primarily women – have cut back their working hours to provide care for relatives when welfare services are insufficient. Investments in welfare and security help keep Sweden together and contribute to a more gender equal labour market. The Government is therefore proposing measures for more staff in elderly care. The Government is also proposing higher maintenance support for single parents and housing supplement for pensioners. To increase security and adjustment capacity, unemployment insurance will also be strengthened.