May 7, 2020 / 2:33 PM / 22 days ago

Swedish govt rolls out $1.5 bln in new coronavirus crisis spending

STOCKHOLM, May 7 (Reuters) - The Swedish government said on Thursday it would spend 14.7 billion crowns ($1.49 billion) to extend and bolster a string of crisis measures to cushion the blow of the pandemic on the country’s economy.

Among the measures, the government said in a statement it would continue to shoulder companies’ costs for sick leave through July, pushing forward a deadline originally set to the end of May, while raising size of benefits for employees.

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference that the package, which also included lifting unemployment benefits, meant the spending measures by the centre-left government during the pandemic now totalled 185 billion crowns.

“This is about supporting companies so that they can adjust to the new environment and increase security for regular wage earners,” she told broadcaster SVT.

The government has gradually rolled out a vast spending package to cushion the blow to the economy, including temporarily taking on the brunt of the cost for furloughed workers and making up for lost revenues at struggling firms.

$1 = 9.8395 Swedish crowns Reporting by Niklas Pollard; editing by Johan Ahlander

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