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Tony’s targets

2.03.2011

Politics is all about knowing what you believe in, being able to articulate one’s values to a wide audience, and working hard to bring about change. In the many years I have been in politics the values I adopted in my youth – social justice, equality and international solidarity – have always served me well. As we approach the April elections, here are the goals to which I commit myself.


A fairer Finland.

We must reduce the income gap between rich and poor, and ensure that no-one becomes alienated from mainstream society. Taxation policy plays a key role here. There is no room for further tax reductions for people on higher incomes. The shift in taxation focus from a progressive tax on income to even-rate taxes such as VAT and energy taxes must be halted. An increase in capital gains tax from 28 to 30% is an excellent start. Instead of funding tax breaks via budget cuts or borrowing, we need to invest in job creation, innovation and greener infrastructure. A clampdown on the grey economy is a first priority.


A better tomorrow.

The structural changes of the last 20 years are set to continue, especially as the big age cohorts retire. Local government must to be streamlined and made less manager-heavy. A complete rethink of primary health care, with the introduction of a family doctor system, is necessary. As in Sweden and the UK, the maximum cost of healthcare and medicines must be kept low. Finland’s funding system for healthcare must be reformed and subsidies to private sector healthcare companies reduced. School-to-job-market times must be cut, and people encouraged to work beyond the current minimum retirement age.


Sustainable growth.

Sustainable growth driven by expertise and Finland’s ample natural resources. The level of processing, however, must be raised: export finished products, not raw materials. Innovation activity must be extended to services, particularly wellness services, and the creative sector. Finnish design must make a comeback. Culture must be recognized as a source of well-being, and as a significant factor in attracting inward investment. An international outlook and tolerance  towards people from other cultures are vital – our service sector and institutions of higher education need them.