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OECD raises gaps in new report
The OECD presents its new report on the Swedish economy today. In the report, the OECD notes that Sweden has a stable economy and strong state finances, but also points to problems with increasing income gaps and the need to reduce gaps in schools to improve school performance.
In its report, the OECD notes that Sweden has enjoyed positive growth and that unemployment has reduced. In the future, the OECD expects “continued robust growth”, however somewhat slower, as a result of labour shortages in many sectors.
The report establishes that fiscal policy in recent years has invested considerable resources in important areas, such as education, integration, health care, defence, and the environment and climate.
Essentially small gaps, but income from capital has had an impact
The OECD stresses that inequalities in Sweden are generally low and prosperity is high, and that increasing employment has resulted in reduced relative poverty. The Government’s increased child allowance and housing allowance have benefited the most disadvantaged households. However, the OECD believes that increasing capital income in recent years has made the gaps increase.
“Between 1995 and 2016, average capital income grew by almost 500 per cent. In addition, capital incomes have become more unevenly distributed, where a very large percentage goes to a small group of people. Dealing with this is crucial to combating income gaps,” says Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson.
An ambitious environment policy
The report also covers Sweden’s environment policy. The OECD establishes that “Sweden is a frontrunner in the fight against climate change and in greening the economy” and that “the government has stepped up efforts” by increasing environmental investments and setting clear objectives for reducing carbon emissions.
The report also raises a number of problems that are high on the Government’s agenda. Income gaps, imbalances in the housing market and an increase in gaps in schools are problems that the Government is working on and has been pursuing measures to remedy since 2014.
“An equitable school system that gives all children the same opportunities to grow and develop, regardless of how much money their parents have, is an absolutely fundamental issue for the Government. According to the OECD, our market-oriented school system impedes such a system. I hope that the report’s conclusions can lead to a constructive discussion on how we can create an equitable knowledge-based school system of equal quality,” says Minister for Education Anna Ekström.
The OECD also makes a number of recommendations in these and a number of other areas.