Alexander Stubb (NCP), the Minister of Finance, shed light on the Government's budgetary plans for 2017–2020 in a press conference in Helsinki on 5 April, 2016.The Finnish Government has decided to introduce additional austerity measures worth roughly 400 million euros and invest in, for example, transport infrastructure projects.

The Government announced after wrapping up its framework session yesterday that it will cut development assistance funding by 25 million, municipal subsidies by 130 million, sickness allowances by 20 million and basic transport infrastructure management funding by 35 million euros.

It will also seek to generate savings of approximately 100 million euros by freezing index-based increases in certain social security benefits and offset the annulment of the tax on ice cream and sweets by raising the fuel tax. The price of petrol and diesel oil is consequently expected to creep up roughly 0.02 euros per litre, according to a press release from the Ministry of Finance.

The measures are necessary to meet the savings target of four billion euros laid out in the government programme because the effects of certain previously announced measured will not be fully realised due to low inflation, according to the Government.

Alexander Stubb (NCP), the Minister of Finance, underscored in a press conference yesterday that no further cuts will be made to education funding. The Government will instead devise an investment package of 105 million euros for higher education and research institutions, tweeted Joonas Turunen, a special adviser to Stubb.

“The funding of 105 million euros for 2017–2018 will be used to develop the digital learning environments of schools and strengthen the position of young, rising researchers,” confirmed Sanni Grahn-Laasonen (NCP), the Minister of Education and Culture.

The Government will, on the other hand, launch a number of transport infrastructure projects by earmarking funds for the construction of light rail lines in Helsinki and Tampere, the construction of a high-speed rail connection between Helsinki and Turku, and the maintenance of highways 4, 5 and 12.

The transport infrastructure investments will amount to a total of 700 million euros during the budget term and fall within the framework budget of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Even several members of the opposition parties received news of the investments with enthusiasm.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi