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The 2018 Spring Budget: Building our society – a secure and sustainable Sweden
The Government is today presenting a spring amending budget and guidelines for economic policy, including new economic forecasts. Public finances show a surplus. Sweden’s economy is strong, employment is at record levels and unemployment is falling.
"We have taken Sweden in a new direction. Investments in jobs, health care, schools and the climate have borne fruit. The Government is now making additional investments for a secure and sustainable Sweden," says Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson.
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's economy continues to perform strongly
The Swedish model continues to deliver results. Since 2014, Sweden has had higher growth than most comparable countries, and growth is expected to remain high in 2018. Employment has increased, with 250 000 more people in jobs during the same period, and the employment rate, (the proportion of the population in employment) is at its highest level in more than 25 years. Moreover, Sweden has the highest employment rate ever measured in an EU country. Youth unemployment is at its lowest level since 2003. The demand for labour will remain strong and unemployment is expected to continue to fall to 6.2 per cent in 2018.
Public finances have shown a surplus since 2015 and are expected to continue to do so in the coming years. The surplus is expected to amount to approximately 1 per cent of GDP in both 2018 and 2019, and then increase up to and including 2021.
"We expect to see increasing needs in the welfare system in the coming years, as we are living longer and more children are being born. This will be the major task of the next electoral period. That is why the Government is giving higher priority to investments in increased security for a Sweden that stands together than to major tax cuts for the richest," says Ms Andersson.
Guidelines for economic and budget policy
More people in work
Despite positive trends, major challenges remain in the labour market. The Government is therefore continuing to pursue its broad jobs agenda, including measures for more and easier paths to jobs, an adult education initiative to ensure that those looking for work have the right skills, measures to secure growth throughout the country, and investments in the climate, welfare, infrastructure and housing. The Government is therefore providing an additional sum of around SEK 0.4 billion in the spring amending budget for initiatives such as Swedish language training and summer jobs for young people.
Sweden must have equitable knowledge-based education
After a long period of weaker learning outcomes, the performance of Swedish pupils is now improving in international assessments. At the same time, the Government believes there is excessive inequality in the education system, and wants to continue initiatives to ensure that learning outcomes continue to improve and inequality decreases.
Sweden will be a fossil-free welfare nation
The Government does not want our environmental problems to be handed down to future generations to deal with. It is possible to combine reduced greenhouse gas emissions with economic development, and the goal is for Sweden to be the world's first fossil-free welfare nation. By taking responsibility for our climate impacts at home, we are demonstrating leadership to countries around the world. The green transition will also generate new jobs. The Government is therefore continuing its efforts to ensure that Sweden has net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, and that it achieves its environmental objectives and secures a more sustainable energy system. This year the spring amending budget is already allocating an additional SEK 0.5 billion for subsidies to reduce methane emissions and for solar cells, etc.
Welfare system will be strengthened
A well-functioning welfare system promotes good economic growth and contributes to greater security, equality and gender equality. Today there are more than 100 000 people working in the welfare sector than when the Government took office. But more needs to be done. In the coming decade, at least 200 000 more people will need to be employed in the sector. In the amending budget for 2018 the Government is already allocating some SEK 1.5 billion in additional funds to the welfare system, for enhanced access to health and medical care and increased security for elderly people, etc. High employment, good schools and a universal welfare system are the foundation of a secure society.
Sweden must be safe
Concerted efforts are necessary to uphold security and democracy. Major investments have been made to ensure more and better-equipped police officers in the fight against crime and ensure terrorism is combated and our defence is reinforced. The work has begun, but the Government believes more needs to be done. Therefore, an additional sum of around SEK 0.3 billion has been allocated in the 2018 spring amending budget to the Swedish Police Authority and Swedish Customs, among others.