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The Budget Bill for 2016 – Investing in Sweden’s future
In the Budget Bill for 2016, to be presented to the Riksdag today, the Government proposes investments in jobs, schools and climate action. The Bill is based on an agreement between the government parties and the Left Party.
“The Government is investing in what makes Sweden strong. In our Sweden, more people will have a job, school performance will be turned around and climate emissions will be reduced,” says Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson.
The Government expects Sweden’s economic situation to improve in the coming years. This is mainly due to a stronger international outlook and, together with the policies pursued, will lead to falling unemployment in Sweden. But this economic upturn is uncertain and there is a substantial risk of weaker growth.
The recovery and the policies pursued mean that the deficit in the general government finances is expected to decrease in the coming years.
“By setting tough priorities, we will reduce the deficit step by step. We have now prioritised reforms worth a total of more than SEK 24 billion for 2016. This is on top of the SEK 20 billion announced in the spring budget,” says Ms Andersson.
Investments in jobs
One of the Government's most important tasks is to reduce unemployment and increase employment. The Government’s jobs agenda consists of three parts: investments in the future – in housing, climate adaptation and infrastructure; an active enterprise and innovation policy for more and growing companies; and investments in skills and matching. The agenda will include a clear gender equality perspective.
Investments in schools
Sweden should be a leading knowledge nation. To turn around performance in schools and improve equity in education, the Government proposes initiatives to raise teacher salaries, enhance further training for teachers and improve opportunities for development in the schools that face the greatest challenges. The reforms are based on previous government initiatives, such as more staff in primary school.
Investments in climate adaptation and energy
Sweden should be a leading force in climate adaptation. By setting ambitious goals, Sweden will take a leading role in the international negotiations on a new climate agreement. The Government therefore proposes reforms to meet the challenges of climate change, increase the share of renewable energy and stimulate development of innovative environmental technology. This includes investing in climate financing in developing countries, solar cells and green cars, as well as increased environmental taxes.
Reforms for increased welfare and security
Sweden should be a country characterised by gender equality, justice and shared responsibility. The Government therefore proposes various reforms to ensure that Swedish health and medical care is of world class, one of the goals being to improve women’s health. The reforms also include lower taxes for pensioners, abolishing the maximum time limit in sickness insurance, increased security and opportunities for all children, and a higher basic level of parental benefit.
Better reception and faster introduction
Sweden should have a long-term, sustainable and legally certain migration policy that safeguards the right of asylum. When more people seek refuge in Sweden, this places great demands on society to make use of and develop the resource that immigration represents. For those who are granted a residence permit, it is important that their introduction to the labour market and to society goes quickly. The Government therefore proposes reforms to speed up the introduction of newly arrived immigrants and also higher compensation to municipalities for reception.
Sweden in the world
A troubled international environment demands a capability to defend Sweden and to take our share of responsibility for the victims of conflict. The Government therefore proposes raising the level of ambition regarding development cooperation. Increased anti-terrorism measures are also proposed. In addition, increased funds for defence are proposed, following an agreement between the Government, the Moderate Party, the Centre Party and the Christian Democrats.
“We will not solve unemployment, low performance levels in schools or the challenge of climate change by making further cuts and short-sighted tax reductions. To tackle these challenges, we need to invest in Sweden. In homes and infrastructure, in knowledge and competitiveness, in the transition to a sustainable society,” concludes Ms Andersson.