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Sweden’s Banks Face New Taxes to Help Pay for Education Spending

Sweden’s Social Democrats, which together with allies look set to win national elections in September, proposed higher taxes on the country’s largest banks to help fund spending on education.

The new bank tax would raise 4 billion kronor ($596 million) annually, of which 1.1 billion kronor would be spent on limiting class sizes in pre-schools to 15 children, the Social Democratic Party said in a statement today. Such measures are needed to help improve school results, it said.

“In relation to banking profits, this isn’t any dramatic tax increase,” Magdalena Andersson, the economic spokeswoman for the Social Democrats, said today at press briefing in Visby, Sweden. “There is a lot of money to tap before this would have any impact on bank clients,” she said, adding that bonuses in the banking industry are big.

Nordea Bank AB, Svenska Handelsbanken AB, SEB AB and Swedbank AB have already been subjected to some of the world’s strictest capital rules to protect taxpayers from any future financial-industry losses. The Social Democrats are looking for financing to spend more on welfare and education, systems they say have been damaged during Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s eight-year tenure.

The Sweden Democrats, with which neither bloc wants to govern because of its restrictive immigration policies, have also sought to introduce a new bank tax and use the annual 4 billion-krona proceeds to abolish taxes on pensions.

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