Social Democrats’ shadow budget is unfeasible, says Orpo

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Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, says the shadow budgets unveiled by opposition parties fail to answer the most pressing question in Finland: how to sustain the current economic and employment growth? (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)
Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, says the shadow budgets unveiled by opposition parties fail to answer the most pressing question in Finland: how to sustain the current economic and employment growth? (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)


The shadow budgets unveiled over the past couple of weeks by opposition parties fail to acceptably answer the most pressing question in Finland: how to sustain the current economic and employment growth, views Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance.

“The biggest mistake would be to put an end to the economic and employment growth by making notable tax cuts,” he stated in the Finnish Parliament on Wednesday.

The Social Democratic Party proposes in its newly unveiled shadow budget that a new tax bracket be created for the highest-income earners, that capital income tax rates be raised and that the five per cent income tax deduction introduced for employers at the start of last year be abolished.

“How does the SDP think jobs are created?” Orpo asked, calling attention to the need to support businesses and improve their operating environment.

He also criticised the opposition party for spending the roughly 430 million euros in profits distributed by the Bank of Finland and Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra). “It’s unfortunate that you can only use funds reserved for the future once,” he said.

The National Coalition Party has also questioned the Social Democrats’ claim that stepping up investments in efforts to combat the grey economy and tax avoidance would generate additional revenues of 300 million euros.

The Social Democrats’ shadow budget is neither credible, nor responsible, concluded Orpo.

“The expenditures have been underestimated and revenues maximised so that you could afford all your promises,” he stated. “The SDP’s alternative is unfeasible.”

Antti Rinne, the chairperson of the opposition party, has marketed the shadow budget as a means to improve the employment situation, cut central government debt, and reduce social and income inequalities. The Social Democrats, he underlined, is seeking to expand the tax base by, for example, levying a five per cent at-source tax on dividends paid by foreign funds and other associations exempt from the dividends tax.

“Do you really think an at-source tax targeted at foreign operators is genuinely unfounded?” he asked Orpo on Wednesday. “It’d create 400 million euros in additional revenues.”

Finance Finland, however, has expressed its reservations about the at-source tax, warning that it would not only discourage foreign investment in the country but also bring earnings-related pension funds under the scope of the tax, thereby creating pressure to raise pension contributions.

“If the profits of pension companies take a hit and there are no cuts in pensions, you’ll have to raise pension contributions,” Lea Mäntyniemi, a director at Finance Finland, told Uusi Suomi.


Source: Helsinki Times

28 cases of abuse in Norwegian schools

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Children learning school abuse

In 2017 there were at least 28 abuse cases where employees in Norwegian schools and kindergartens were indicted, charged or convicted of child abuse, reports Education News (Utdanningsnytt).  

The 28 cases in 2017 are a very significant increase from the average of about eleven cases per year in the seven-year period 2010 to 2016, according to Utdanningsnytt.

The cases from 2017 apply to 18 employees in school and ten kindergarten employees. The number of verdicts in 2017 ended at 16. The average for the seven previous years is nine verdicts a year.

Head of Educational Federation, Steffen Handal, says attempts at school can be very difficult to reveal. No schools or kindergartens have any assurance that this can not happen to them, he believes.

– Therefore prevention is so important. We must pay close attention and constantly act so that we support children and students to inform, says Handal.

Head of section for sex offenses in Kripos, Laila Søndrol, says the extent of reported sexual abuse against children has increased radically in recent years.

– Child abuse is committed every day at the places children are staying, also in kindergarten and at schools. There is reason to believe that there are still large numbers not being reported, she says.

The increase in registered cases of abuse against children may have several reasons.

– More transparency about sexual assault and lower threshold to report may be a cause. The internet-related assault cases, where a single perpetrator can reach hundreds of offenders, is attributed to a part of the increase, Søndrol says.


Source:  Norway Today

Hotel Construction Stopped by Cultural Heritage Agency

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Archaeological Excavation in Downtown Reykjavík

The site being excavated in 2016. Photo: Golli.

The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland stopped construction of a hotel in downtown Reykjavík after the remains of a coffin were found by the site yesterday, RÚV reports. Kristín Huld Sigurðardóttir, the agency’s director, says it is necessary to investigate the area where the remains were found, which served as a cemetery from the 11th century until 1883.

The lot, located between Iceland’s Parliament and the Settlement Museum, is the former site of Víkurkirkjugarður, one of Iceland’s first Christian cemeteries. Víkurkirkjugarður was established in the 11th century, shortly after Christianity was adopted in Iceland. The cemetery was officially demolished in 1838, but burials continued there until 1883.

The Cultural Heritage Agency would like to make the site a protected area. The City of Reykjavík has previously stated it does not consider there to be grounds for special protection.

The hotel under construction, named the Iceland Parliament Hotel, is to be operated by Icelandair Hotels under the brand Curio by Hilton. Originally set to open this year, the hotel is planned to have 160 rooms.


Source : Iceland Review