As public finance structures were created at a time of more favorable demographic and economic development, it argued that the financial base is no longer sufficient to support all public sector tasks.
The Center, the Basic Finns, the Greens, the Left Alliance, the Kokoomus and the SDP thanked the ministry’s officials for their work, but they only expressed their support for the measures proposed by themselves.
Juha MajanenThe permanent state secretary of the Ministry of Finance said on Monday that he hopes that the decision-makers will have a thorough discussion about the options found by the authorities, instead of rejecting them on their own.
“It may be that this generation has to give up something for a while to make sure that there is still a welfare state for our children,” he said.
Officials at the Ministry of Finance estimate that adjusting the reduced VAT rates applied to goods such as food and medicine could increase tax revenues by up to 2.8 billion euros.
“We have always been critical of raising the reduced VAT rates. We don’t think that’s sustainable, especially now that prices have gone up. Matias Mäkynenthe vice-chairman of the Social Democrats informed Helsingin Sanomat.
“Now is not the right time to raise the prices of food and medicine,” he repeated Riikka PurraChairman of Basic Finns.
Similarly, the parties expressed their reluctance to curb increases in occupational pensions and other social security benefits, even though ministry officials felt that refining the index increases by one percentage point would yield annual savings of around 1.5 billion euros. According to the daily, occupational pensions would account for more than half of the predicted savings.
The Greens, the Left Alliance and the Social Democrats unexpectedly opposed the idea, but the Basic Finns and the Coalition also rejected the idea.
“We are simply not interested in freezing the index increases of occupational pensions. Pensioners must be able to trust that they did not pay their pension contributions for nothing,” he explained Kai Mykkänenchairman of the parliamentary group of the coalition.
However, both the center and the coalition initially expressed their support for curbing housing benefit increases.
The Ministry of Finance emphasized on Monday that decision-makers should not rule out spending cuts in education due to the dire state of the public finances. The officials’ possible measures were the shortening of the duration of some vocational education programs from three to two years and the introduction of tuition fees in higher education institutions.
“It’s simply not okay. Not even a euro should be cut from education in the next election period, he said Maria OhisaloChairman of the Greens Union.
The reception was equally frosty for the idea of cutting state subsidies for cultural and sports organizations by 500–700 million euros. Basic Finns stood out in this respect, however, and the chairman estimated that support for cultural organizations could be cut.
the Treasury minister Annika Saarikko The Center, which commissioned the report from the Ministry of Finance, said that the work of the ministry’s officials shows that savings of 2.5-3.0 billion euros can be achieved “without destroying the core of the welfare state”.
However, he did not want to specify which of the proposals the ruling center-right party would be willing to support.
“One interesting measure that I could mention – even though we are talking about fairly small amounts – is reforming the reception of refugees and asylum seekers and streamlining the residence permit process within the limits of around 100 million euros,” Saarikko told Helsingin Sanomat.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: The Nordic Page