March 25, 2020 / 5:25 PM / 6 days ago

UPDATE 1-Swedish govt announces package to support small businesses

* Govt to offer loan guarantees of up to 100 bln SEK

* Extends tax amnesty, cuts labour tax, offers tax rebates (Adds detail, background)

STOCKHOLM, March 25 (Reuters) - Sweden announced on Wednesday a new round of measures to support the economy against the coronavirus outbreak, including loan guarantees of up to 100 billion Swedish crowns ($9.9 bln) for small and medium sized businesses.

The government has already announced a range of measures including a tax amnesty, partial payment of sick leave costs for companies for a period of time, as well as shouldering the bulk of costs for temporary redundancies due to the crisis.

“These measures together will save Swedish companies and Swedish jobs,” Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference.

Andersson said that in total, support measures to businesses, local authorities and sporting associations would lead to an increase in expenditure of 70 billion crowns.

“That is almost as much as the new spending measures we introduced in 2017 and 2018 added together,” she said.

“It is so we could do something like this that we have made sure that we have order in our public finances and paid off government debt during the good times.”

Sweden has already announced extra cash for local authorities to help fight the coronavirus outbreak while the central bank has provided up to 500 billion crowns in loans to companies through the banking system. (Reporting by Simon Johnson Editing by Mark Heinrich and Elaine Hardcastle)

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