The newly-formed Swedish government signalled that it would pursue a major new policy turn on January 31 by announcing mass public sector layoffs that will see 4,500 state workers made redundant in the coming months.

The move is part of the government’s attempt at fiscal consolidation. Following the formation of a new government led by a coalition government led by the Social Democrats, but who are working with the Moderates and Christian Democrats, initiatives have been taken to cut the numbers of workers who are employed by the state.

The new government budget agreed by the four-party coalition, which includes the Greens, envisages cuts worth 5.2 billion SEK (€500 million) in funding for the Public Employment Service and job seekers’ training programmes.

The government programme also includes the privatisation of many of the social services that are currently offered by government agencies.