Finance Minister Annika Saarikko defends her proposal for additional child allowance. She also talks about the wage settlement and Ukrainian refugees. On Thursday, Annika Saarikko presented the main points of the Ministry of Finance's budget proposal. [email protected] at 22:17
- Child allowance has lagged behind other subsidies, Saarikko says.
- Saarikko on the dismal support figures in the city centre: "The support we Finns think we deserve right now'' .
- Tax reductions are still possible, Saarikko says.
- The minister justifies his idea of Ukrainian refugees as part of the solution to the personnel shortage in the health and social services sector.
Finance Minister Annika Saarikko (center) presented the main points of the Ministry of Finance's budget proposal on Thursday. Iltalehti interviewed Saarikko after the press conference.
Saarikko explained to Iltalehti his proposal for an additional child allowance that would be paid in December.
– Child allowance is one of the cornerstones of our social security, which is not is not tied to a rise in prices, Saarikko said.
Saarikko is not only the custodian of the state but also the chairman of the center. According to Yle's recent support survey, the support of the center is only 11.0% – almost historically low.
Crisis of support for the center
Is the child benefit proposal an accurate weapon against inflation for combating disadvantages or for the center's support to disappear?
– I am driven to take care of common issues by a better tomorrow for children and young people, Saarikko answers.
Why is the support of the center so low?
– If I knew the exact answer or way, I would have implemented it, says Saarikko.
– You can't be satisfied with that, but it's the support that we Finns think is exactly now we earn, he continues.
In Saariko's opinion, there are a lot of centrist themes in the air: self-sufficiency, the whole Finnish thing, the appreciation of Finnish food.
– I hope that we would be better able to tell Finns that the most important things are the ones that matter dearest to the center.
According to Saariko, the support also shows the government's responsibility. Support has flowed to the coalition and basic Finns.
Will it flow to the well-off?
According to Saariko, the level of child benefits has lagged behind and family poverty has increased.
Child benefit is a universal benefit that is paid to people in all income categories. Isn't part of the support aimed at well-income earners who invest their child allowance in stocks?
– The discussion has created an image as if the vast majority of families with children have an insanely good financial situation. The majority of families with children are struggling amid rising costs, says Saarikko.
In Finland, fewer and fewer children are born. Wouldn't it be justified to make a permanent increase in the child allowance instead of a single bonus child allowance?
– This is also a message about the low birth rate. And the level of child benefits has lagged behind. At this stage, however, I don't think new significant permanent expenditure items are possible, Saarikko says.
In Saarikko's opinion, raising child benefits is a good goal in the longer term.
Taxes still on the table
Saarikko does not rule out income tax reductions, although he criticizes the opposition for presenting “huge” tax reductions. However, he would tie any possible income tax reductions to moderate wage solutions.
– I still have an open mind about reducing taxation for working people and pensioners, says Saarikko.
Can possible income tax reductions be tied to salary increases, when salaries are not agreed upon until the end of the year, when the budget has already been decided?
– Labor market organizations do not need to make reasonable wage solutions for the country's government, but for Finland's competitiveness, Saarikko says.
Saarikko urges labor market organizations to look “a little further”.p>
Saarikko emphasizes “specific measures” – so wouldn't it be appropriate to put the possible income tax reduction completely aside, since it does not concern the lowest income earners?
– Those with the lowest incomes get relief from the fact that social security is tied to the rise in prices. Income tax reductions should be seen as a measure that enables reasonable wage settlements and, on the other hand, as a measure if the economy turns into a recession.
"War is a fact”
In Finland there is a shortage of social and healthcare workers. On Thursday, Saarikko presented one of the solutions as part of the rapid training of Ukrainian refugees for social security.
Isn't it strange to talk about people who fled the war as a labor resource?
– According to my understanding, many Ukrainians are wondering if they can return to their homeland. Many also wonder if they could build their lives here, Saarikko answers.
Shouldn't filling the staff shortage be independent of the refugee flows created by crises?
– War is a fact. Millions of refugees in Europe is a fact. We also need labor from elsewhere. Unfortunately, we couldn't win anything for the war and these people are here. In addition to them, we also need labor from elsewhere.
Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko at a press conference on Thursday. Petteri PaalasmaaAnnika Saarikko: Increases in benefits next year, two conditions for income tax 3.8. 16:04 VM presents: Double child benefit for everyone in December, increases in benefits, extension of the reduction in the distribution obligation on 4 August. 17:59 Annika Saarikko presented an additional child benefit – even the government partners see a problem in the proposal 4.8. 19:48