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Construction crisis on the agenda as TMF meets with the Swedish government

Last week, the Swedish federation of wood and furniture, TMF, met with Swedish Minister for Housing Andreas Carlsson, along with other representatives from the Swedish construction industry, to present their situation and propose measures for addressing the ongoing construction crisis.

Photo: TMF.

'It was a good conversation where we could stand united in the need for action. The government has previously stated that they are prepared to do more if the construction crisis worsens, and our joint message here and now is that urgent action is needed to boost construction,' commented Cecilia Ask Engström, industry and business policy manager at TMF.

The parties met last summer in a roundtable discussion, and since then, the construction crisis has continued. The industry has been severely affected by international circumstances such as inflation and war, and several of TMF's member companies, both in the residential construction sector and related industries, have issued multiple layoffs.

In addition to Minister for Housing Andreas Carlson, the meeting also included representatives from the Ministry of Climate & Enterprise and the Ministry of Finance. Representatives from Construction Companies, GS Union, and Construction Workers Union also participated in the meeting.

'It is good that we can come together in this difficult situation and present proposals together,' said Cecilia Ask Engström, industry and business policy manager at TMF.

The construction and civil engineering industry accounts for eleven percent of Sweden's GDP and creates many job opportunities, both as an individual industry and for subcontractors. A continued crisis will have a significant impact on society, and the stalled housing construction was already lagging behind before the crisis.

'There was great consensus among the parties, and the feeling was that the policymakers both listened to us and understood the seriousness of the situation. We look forward to continuing to work together with the government to reverse the trend and facilitate continued construction in Sweden,' said Cecilia Ask Engström.

Among the proposals presented by TMF were, for example, raising the mortgage ceiling to stimulate demand for owner-occupied homes, reducing amortisation requirements, proceeding with the completed investigation into support for first-time buyers, the so-called starter loan, and reducing stamp duty on new construction.

The issue of the construction crisis engages many, and Thursday's meeting was also covered in several media outlets. Johan Magnusson, CEO of Kärs, was interviewed in the business newspaper Näringslivet. He emphasises the seriousness when the construction industry goes through a difficult and challenging time and predicts long-term effects on the workforce.

'We risk losing an entire generation as we did in the 1990s. When the situation turns, there is a risk that the workforce and expertise will no longer be available in the industry,' says Johan Magnusson.

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