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Trade Union News from Finland

STTK urges the well-to-do to bear their share of rising taxes

STTK (31.01.2012) The government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen is preparing measures to balance the State budget. Expenditure is to be cut and taxes raised. The original goal for the entire 4-year Parliamentary term was to save EUR 2.5 billion, but Raimo Sailas, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Finance, insists that savings must now be tripled to EUR 7.5 billion.

Leila Kostiainen, the Secretary General of the Finnish Confederation of Professionals STTK, argues strenuously that the cuts must be made in a fair manner and tax rises must be targeted even-handedly. She reminds us that in the last two decades the income gap has risen significantly.

The government is believed to be planning increases in indirect taxation. This will affect low-income groups above all, those that have already suffered from the recent price hikes with increased levies on sugar and tobacco, in addition to fuel excise duties.

"If VAT alone is to be raised then the growing burden will not be shared equally. To make the package fair taxation of the well-off must also be included in it", Kostiainen says. "In any case most of the taxes are collected from middle-income people."