helsinki town hall

Helsinki’s largest parties near agreement for next year’s budget

Helsinki’s largest parties near agreement for next year’s budget

Unlike many other cities, Helsinki is not planning too many cuts to public services

Local governments across Europe have been forced to make some hard choices as they contemplate how best to approach their 2021 budgets. The coronavirus pandemic has put a significant dent on public finances as economic activity waned and authorities were forced to spend more to keep basic services running at a distance.

Nonetheless, mayors and city councils in Europe are ready to do whatever it takes to make life better for their constituents and are now in the final stretches before the new year when they must submit their plans for 2021.

Helsinki – not a city of cuts

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Finnish capital of Helsinki will not be cutting too many of its public services. As the City Council’s largest parties reached an agreement on a budget outline earlier last week, the only major casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic will be the city’s child homecare allowances, provided by the city.

Currently, Helsinki pays parents some 264 euros each month for each child under the age of 18 months and another 218 euros per month for each child between 18 and 24 months. According to the proposed changes, authorities plan to limit the funding and make it available only for children under 12 months of age, without reducing the amount of funds.

To offset some of the issues that could appear from these cuts, officials plan to use some 70 million euros to reduce fees for early education, which could in theory increase employment. According to authorities, if parents have the opportunity to enroll their children in education at an earlier age, they will feel more comfortable to get back on the job market, which would stimulate the economy and accelerate growth.

Overall, the city of Helsinki has no plans of significantly cutting public services. On the contrary, it has prepared a 900 million-euro investment package that will allow the Finnish capital to quickly bounce back into action once the threat of COVID-19 is put behind us.



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