Saturday guests Now we need to cut social benefits for the unemployed and reduce taxation on those in work, says Petteri Orpo of the Coalition Party

According to the opposition leader, despite the rise in prices, measures should be taken in Finland to make work more profitable in relation to being unemployed.

Current the government is leaving Finland in a “completely creepy” mess, he says Petteri Orpo. In the opinion of the chairman of the Coalition Party, the government does not seem to be capable of responsible economic policy at all.

Prime minister Sanna Marin (sd) and the Minister of Finance Annika Saarikko (center) are told methat the government is violating its previously agreed expenditure frameworks, ie the maximum state expenditure, again this year and next to respond to the effects of the war in Ukraine. Orpo says that he considers investments in defense, security of supply and other preparedness necessary.

“But it would be the duty of the government to do them in principle within the framework, that is, to take them away from elsewhere. This has been the case in this country in the past. This government is simply not capable of any kind of prioritization and cuts. ”

One week ago, Minister of Finance Saarikko emphasized In an interview with HSthat things now need to be prioritized and Finns must also be prepared to give up something because of rising prices. However, the archipelago did not specify where the state money is not enough, ie where it is taken away.

According to Orpo, the speeches in the city center repeat the same pattern: Mika Lintilä, Katri Kulmuni, Matti Vanhanen and Saarikko, in turn, as finance ministers, have sworn in the name of austerity, but “come out of every government economic negotiations so that everything is gone”.

“There are no screens. If Saarikko were to act as he speaks, he would be a good finance minister. ”

Saarikko and Orpo in the regional election exam in January.

“If Saarikko were to act as he speaks, he would be a good finance minister.”

What so the opposition leader thinks it should be done?

Orpo refers to the familiar way the Coalition will do in the fall to the alternative budget. In it, the party lists cuts and employment measures to rebalance the economy. Cuts in social benefits, such as unemployment benefits, housing benefits and income support, are key. The cuts would hit the unemployed above all. The Coalition Party would not cut current pensions.

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The government, on the contrary ponders on the proposal of the Left Alliance, an additional increase in social benefits. The reason is that the rapid rise in prices can drive low-income people into a cramped situation. However, the Coalition Party remains behind its own line despite rising prices, Orpo says.

“We are driving cuts in social benefits to make it more profitable to get a job. This is the right time to make structural reforms in social security and taxation. We still have a labor shortage in the midst of all this, and structural unemployment is high. We should be able to face hundreds of thousands of unemployed and tens of thousands of job vacancies. ”

The Coalition Party leader says that he understands that the rise in the cost of living will hit many Finnish households badly.

“But you can’t afford everything now, so choices have to be made. We want to reduce income taxation so that people have some more money to cope with increased bills. ”

Coalition is pushing for tax cuts of more than € 800 million for all income categories, including pensioners. The Coalition Party’s proposals would leave about 20 euros a month more for a middle-income employee. The government has not resorted to similar tax cuts, although Saarikko has sometimes hinted at the possibility.

The center and the rest of the government have argued that tax cuts would further weaken public finances. The archipelago is an example criticized the coalition that the party is acting as a strict steward but would like to make a big dent in state revenue. Orpo denies the criticism, although he admits that the tax cuts, at least in the short term, will reduce government revenue and increase indebtedness.

“Tax cuts are part of a package to boost employment and boost growth. At the same time, we are proposing cuts to social security, for example, precisely because it would make work more and more profitable. And we think it’s fair that people are then left with more of their own money they earn at work. The center obviously doesn’t see it that way. ”

“It’s fair that people have more in the hands of the money they earn from their work.”

Even in crises in the middle, the government is surprisingly achieving its tough employment target. The so-called trend figure for the employment rate of 15-64-year-olds monitored by the government rose to 74 per cent in February, Statistics Finland said on Tuesday. When the technical change in the calculation method that took place in the middle of the government period is eliminated, the employment rate will be approximately 75 per cent.

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The opposition leader does not give any credit to the government for the increase in employment. He believes the debt stimulus has improved employment somewhat, but does not consider the improvement to be sustainable. According to Orpo, the government has not taken enough action to increase incentives to work and bring people into the private sector.

“I know many get annoyed when I say this, but I think the reforms that have been made to the labor market over the last term now have a greater impact on improving employment than the actions of this government. The government has not yet brought any significant employment reform to Parliament, not even the removal of the pension pipeline. ”

According to Orpo, the next government, which will start next year by default, will have a lot of work to do to clean up the traces of the current government. He thinks spending should start to adjust as proposed by the Economic Policy Review Council 0.2-0.4% of GDP per year. That would mean cuts or tax increases of around half a billion euros a year. The Coalition Party is not in favor of tightening taxation.

Soon Orpo, who has led the Coalition for six years, criticizes the government’s economic policy in a routine manner. One question still makes him thoughtful and arrange his words very carefully.

Nursing associations and other public sector organizations are threatened with large-scale strikes if employers in municipal and welfare areas do not agree to substantial pay increases and a multi-year pay program. For example, since the salaries of caregivers will be practically entirely financed by the state after the SOTE reform, the realization of the unions’ wage demands would require government intervention.

An orphan speaking in Parliament in 2007.

“It was the beginning of a time of crisis.”

Orpo recalls how, as a fresh member of parliament for the first time in 2007, he gave a group speech to the Coalition Party and it was “exciting”. In his speech Orpo defended the Coalition’s election promises to raise carers’ salaries, even as they drove the labor market into a chaotic state. That’s when Orpo said politicians must work for fair goals like pay equality.

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Now Orpo says the period in Parliament was distressing and “somehow changed this house permanently”.

“It was the beginning of a time of crisis. Electoral riot, financial crisis, one euro after another, refugee crisis, interest rate crisis, Ukraine war. We have been waiting for a so-called normal time, but it just hasn’t come. ”

According to Orpo, it is clear in retrospect that the intervention of the Coalition Party and politicians in the labor market in general caused Antti Rinteen (sd) I said “Wolf and second.” He still stresses that he understands the pay requirements of carers and other public sector employees.

“A solution should be found at the negotiating table that satisfies employees but also takes into account the sustainability of public finances. And the solution must recognize the huge shortage of nurses in this country. I refuse to say this exactly, I am not a negotiator and I do not want to get involved in this, ”Orpo concludes from his own point of view.

Outdoor- and Orpo commends the government and the president for running a security policy. He says that he considers it important that Finland decides to apply for NATO membership in the coming months. The orphan does not think that a better time will come just by waiting.

The Coalition Leader admits that as an “operational man” he would be prime minister rather than an opposition leader during the coronavirus crisis and major security policy outlines. The Prime Minister is a realistic goal for the people of Turku next year, as the Coalition Party is currently opinion polls the biggest party. However, the orphan himself does not want to think that far yet.

“A year is a long time. We will not be overwhelmed by the guilt of politics at this stage to start sharing some ministerial portfolios. ”

Petteri Orpo

  • Born on November 3, 1969 in Köyliö. Currently lives in Turku.

  • Member of Parliament since 2007.

  • Chairman of the Coalition Party since June 2016. Served as Minister of Finance, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

  • Master of Political Science.

  • The family includes a wife and two children.

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