The 2009 Fiscal Bill

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The 2009 Spring Fiscal Bill - devoid of education and employment policies

It is positive that the conservative government has realised that measures to combat the economic crisis are needed but those suggested are far from satisfying. The Spring Bill is a disillusionment to the members of the LO national unions, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, LO President, states.

Active measures in favour of education as well as employment policies are needed to guide Sweden out of the crisis and to facilitate for the jobless to re-enter the labour market when the economic trend turns upward again. The Government’s Bill is devoid of such measures. The major part of the extra resources allocated to labour market measures in 2009 are set aside for increased costs of the unemployment insurance. The quality of the labour market policy runs the risk of being impaired and the unemployed will be the great losers, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.

According to the Government, the labour market policy programmes will boost considerably in the years to come. However, it is almost only measures related to the job guarantee and the job guarantee for young people that will increase. In 2010, as much as 90 per cent of the increase in the labour market programmes will be related to the job guarantees. On the other hand, actual measures concerning labour market education are conspicuous by their absence. At present, there are less than 5000 training posts in labour market training, which is a very low number.

All the forecasts are now unanimous. Unemployment will increase considerably. Now, if ever, is the right time to invest in education of longer duration. In my opinion, a new adult education initiative is needed. The LO perspective is that great investments in both labour market training and municipal adult education would have been needed, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.

It is very unfortunate that the Government refuses to tackle the great problems of the unemployment insurance. 500 000 persons have renounced the unemployment insurance and today, one third of all unemployed are not members of any unemployment insurance scheme. The fees to the unemployment insurance must be lowered in order to increase the inflow into the unemployment insurance. Besides, the insurance must be reinforced and the maximum payment be raised. Today, only 25 per cent receive a remuneration which corresponds to 80 per cent of the salary, Wanja Lundby-Wedin says.

The Government can prevent unemployment from rising by providing more resources to the municipalities as well as investing in training within industry to avert lay-offs. The Government can also contribute to increased employment by introducing a reduction system for house-owners which would create employment for both construction workers and employees within the building industry, Wanja Lundby-Wedin concludes.