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Swedish budget gives boost for welfare, climate, jobs By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Magdalena Andersson (Sweden’s Minister of Finance) speaks in Stockholm, Sweden on January 18, 2021. Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/via REUTERS/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s centre-left government said on Monday it would boost welfare spending by 23 billion Swedish crowns ($2.6 billion) next year in a budget aimed at reducing social inequality and shifting to a more sustainable economy after the pandemic.

Sweden’s recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak has been faster than that of most European nations.

There are still long-term issues to be faced, such as dealing with the rise in gang violence, reducing greenhouse gas emission by zero by 2045, and filling in the gaps in Sweden’s welfare system, which was affected by a pandemic that claimed close to 15,000 lives.

It will bring in 74 billion Crowns to the economy.

Magdalena Andersson, Finance Minister said that the budget was designed to move Sweden forward following the pandemic.

“We will employ more police and deal with the COVID-related healthcare queues. We also plan to make more green investments throughout the country.

In 2022 when Sweden holds a general elections, the economy will grow by 3.5% and 4.4% respectively.

But Andersson said it was important not to withdraw support too quickly and that while many of the government’s pandemic support schemes are being phased out, spending would switch to longer-term measures..

“One important lesson of the financial crisis is that you shouldn’t take your foot off the gas too early,” she said.

Most of the measures were known already, including 10 billion crowns for income taxes cuts and around 12 billion crowns for climate change reverse.

Andersson is expected to succeed Stefan Lofven as Social Democrat-Green prime minister in November. He also promised a 5 billion increase to the health expenditures next year.

A generous budget is a goal of the Social Democrat-Green minority government. It will also be a win for voters and please Left and Centre parties. The coalition will likely need their support to form a government following the next general elections.

($1 = 8.7117 Swedish crowns)

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