Some ideas from Sweden – NOT MY IDEAS!! posted on comment page by 360_degrees in “The Independent”
While Britain is plunging ever deeper into the Red, Sweden, while exposed to exactly the same global recession, has just sharply improved its forecast for its finances this year saying it will nearly balance its budget in 2010 and should see a surplus in 2011! Or to put it another way while Britain is expected to post a deficit of £155 billion pounds in the 12 months April 2010 to March 2011, Sweden will post a deficit of just £0.5 billion in the 12 months of 2010!
The contrast couldn’t be starker between good Swedish government and Labour’s 13 years of recklessly trashing the nation’s finances under one Gordon Brown. But now that Britain and its politicians have proven themselves not up to the job of running an economy perhaps it’s time for them all to simply sit back and take Swedish lessons. So here goes, this is how they avoid going bankrupt, à la UK style.
Free? Of course it’s Sweden right? Well,no …… actually it’s not. It costs £10 pounds to visit your GP, and £20 to visit A&E. Oh and you don’t get anything unless you have a valid Swedish ID card which puts paid to migrants flying in and bankrupting the system as in the UK.
Prescriptions are also not free. They cost. Sometimes a lot. However, the ID system allows for a record of your visits to be logged, and once you’ve paid around £90 in a 12 month period, your healthcare is free for the remainder of that period. It’s commonsense itself, which is why of course no Party in Britain has ever had the wit to introduce such a scheme.
University courses are free for Swedes, everyone else pays. But Swedes still have to finance all their accommodation and living expenses. It’s an early dose of economic reality and the virtues of independence. Most cope by, shock horror, getting a part-time job. No, not flipping burgers. I sat next to a business student on the train the other day who told me she worked 18 hours a week in the control section of a major banks trading business.
- 25 % VAT pretty much across the board. (UK 17.5 %)
- Capital gains tax is 30 % (UK 18-28 %)
- Capital gains tax on the sale of your first property, unless you buy another before the end of the next year. Capital gains tax on the sale of any other property regardless. (UK capital gains only on sale of additional properties)
- Income tax is around 32 percent on income under about £35,000, but jumps by another 25 percentage points on incomes over about £42,000. In total, a maximum rate of approximately 57.77% is levied on average. (UK top rate of tax of 50 % but is only applicable to income in excess of £150,000 per year)
- Non-residents are subject to tax but only on income from sources in Sweden.
- A foreign national is liable for full tax if he is regarded as resident ie in Sweden for more than 183 days during the tax year.
Unemployment benefit – For the first 6 months you’re on your own. Swedish unions have comprehensive unemployment insurance schemes which most people pay into, typically £30-70 per month, plus an extra £30 for a top up.
Housing benefit – There is none. (UK currently limitless, govt plans to restrict to £2,000 per month).
Q. “But what if unemployment means you can’t afford to pay for your home in Sweden?”
A. You lose it. The state will give you sheltered accommodation, but you don’t want to go there, really.
- No benefits unless you have a valid ID card.
- No ID card unless you arrive in Sweden legally and are accepted.
- NO ID card, NO home, NO benefits? You freeze to death.
That’s enough for now. You get the picture. Britain is the give away society of Europe compared with what is often mistakenly viewed as the welfare capital of the world.
Is it any wonder the Swedes are running the best finances in the world while Britain is bankrupt? The British need to grow up and stop being truculent about the need for reform. And that means everyone from students, to welfare claimants to higher income earning tax payers.