Eight out of ten Swedish municipalities will be forced to make serious cuts to local services this year due to changing demographics and costs of newly arrived migrants.
Just under half of the municipalities, 46 percent, plan cuts to disability services, while 50 percent say they will be making spending cuts in individual and family care in order to save money, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Göran Eriksson, the city manager for the municipality of Bengtsfors, said that his municipality relies heavily on subsidies and other programmes from the national government and would not be able to cope with the costs of social services and welfare without them.
“We have been generous and received many new arrivals, but basically it is also a demographic problem. We have an ageing population and the municipality is shrinking,” he told the broadcaster.
Among the measures planned to save money is a merger of those who handle migrant integration with those who work in the labour market and welfare. Street light usage is expected to be reduced by 20 percent and snow ploughing will only occur when there are higher levels of snowfall than previously.
According to centre-right Moderate politician Anders Forsberg, the austerity measures are there in place of potential tax increases.
Bengtfors lawmakers sounded the alarm in August, claiming that the municipality faced potential bankruptcy due to taking in far too many migrants that it could locally afford.
“Costs in municipalities that have received new arrivals have continued to be substantial even when government revenues have stopped. This creates a large negative hole in the municipal cash register,” Moderate Party member Stig Bertilsson said.
Several other local governments have expressed similar situations such as Hässleholm, whose City Council chairman Lars Johnsson said at least 100 of the migrants living in the munci0paity were illiterate and claimed it would be “impossible” to get them into work.