'Not Putin Who Raised Taxes': Swedish Opposition Leader Blasts Gov't for Scapegoating Russia
05:00 GMT 05.07.2022 (Updated: 13:36 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Janerik HenrikssonUlf Kristersson, lesder of the center-right party Moderates, makes his way to a press meeting in the Riksdag, Stockholm, Wednesday Nov. 14, 2018
© AP Photo / Janerik Henriksson
Following weeks of soaring prices for necessities such as food, electricity and fuel, Swedish inflation saw a new multi-decade high of 7.2 percent, the highest level since 1991.
Ulf Kristersson, the leader of Sweden's largest opposition party, the Moderates, has accused the government of scapegoating and blaming the dour economic situation on the conflict in Ukraine.
“It was not Putin who formed the government with the Green Party. It was not Putin who raised 46 taxes in eight years”, Kristersson said in his speech on the island of Gotland, as quoted by the newspaper Aftonbladet.
Among others, Kristersson promised a “stop in tax increases” if his liberal-conservative party, currently polling at some 20 percent of the vote, wins the next election.
“I will not just say no to all the left-wing cartel's tax increases. Ahead of the next term, we are going to the polls on a tax increase stop. No new taxes may be introduced, and the overall tax burden should not increase until we are sure that all the taxes we already pay go to exactly the things they are supposed to go to”, Kristersson said.
In recent months, Sweden has been plagued by soaring prices for food, electricity, fuel and other staples. In May, headline inflation hit 7.2 percent, a new multi-decade high and the highest level since December 1991.
To offset inflation and prevent it from becoming entrenched, Sweden’s Central Bank raised a key interest rate by half a percent last week.
The Central Bank, too, blamed the “imbalances” on the conflict in Ukraine and pandemic-related restrictions in China.
“The high rate of inflation in Sweden and abroad is affecting households and is undermining purchasing power,” it said. “Central banks around the world are now tightening monetary policy to cool down economic activity and bring inflation down”.
16 June, 05:32 GMT
In late June, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson stressed that the government won't “pour money on the flames of inflation” through general consumption stimuli, as it would only fuel further price rises. Instead, Andersson voiced plans to support the hardest-hit groups.
On 24 February Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine. The operation was announced following Moscow's decision to recognize the independence of the then-self-proclaimed people's republics in Donbass after Kiev intensified its shellings, causing mass civilian evacuations. The West replied with massive arms assistance to Kiev and broad tokens of support.