MUNICIPAL ELECTION 2017

Municipal Elections on 9 April 2017. In Finland, the election day is Sunday 9 April 2017, and the advance voting between 29 Mars and 4 April and abroad between 29 Mars and 1 April 2017.

Read more about the elections on the website of  Ministry of Justice >>

Left Alliance Goals

High-quality social services and healthcare for all

The Left Alliance goal in the elections is to stand for high-quality public services. Representatives of the party commit to work in the future councils for equal rights to high-level education, good social and healthcare services and fair terms of employment. Possibilities to affordable housing and good environment are also our top goals, as well as the active role of municipalities in improving the rate of employment.

Read the detailed goals of Left alliance in the elections

The Left Alliance strives towards ensuring high-quality and equal social services and healthcare for everyone. Although services are generally on a good level, social and health disparities have been increasing continuously. The problem is that basic public services are insufficiently funded, queues are too long and the bureaucratic walls between the different organisations involved prevent customers and patients from using services in a flexible and meaningful way. The Left Alliance considers it to be of the utmost importance that Finland provides high-quality public social and health services for everyone residing in Finland.

Well-functioning preventive services and high-quality, timely treatment and care improve the overall health of the population and reduce health disparities. Although human wellbeing is, of course, valuable in itself, it also has financial implications: sufficient and timely support creates savings as people remain in good health and are sick less often.

The government is currently preparing a social and health service reform which will affect the administration and funding of social services and healthcare, service provider organisations and residents’ rights to use services.  Unfortunately, while social and health service reform is needed, Finland’s right-wing government has steered reform onto the wrong path and a project that once aimed to secure services is now a privatisation and corporatisation project. The Left Alliance calls for reform which is pro-democracy and pro-equality and enhances the rights of social and health service users in a cost-efficient way.

Representatives of The Left Alliance commit to the following goals:

Shorter queues
Access to services must be immediate and access to treatment sufficiently rapid. In particular, efforts must be made to improve the accessibility of primary health care and low-threshold mental healthcare. The service system must be seamless, and we must stop shunting people around and shifting responsibility from organisation to organisation.

More evenly distributed wellbeing
Public services must be improved so that all citizens have access to services that are as high quality as those provided by occupational healthcare. We must invest in social welfare to secure a minimum income and enable everyone to make ends meet. Every municipality must introduce a social lending scheme and ensure well-functioning debt counselling services. Gender effects must be evaluated in connection with the social and health service reform and any other major decisions, and gender equality must be taken into account in all decision-making.

A safe and dignified old age through sufficient nursing resources
Elderly care must not be diluted and nursing staff must not be reduced. The execution of the provisions of the Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons must be monitored more effectively. The government decision to cut the number of nurses must not be implemented. In elderly care, time must be created for encounters, outdoor activities and recreational activities in addition to basic nursing duties.

Plenty of resources for preventive child welfare services and family services
More resources must be allocated to preventive services. The cost of pre-emptive problem solving and early intervention is smaller than after-care, both from a humane and a financial point of view. Families must be provided with tangible help at home and psycho-social support. Family work must form a single, seamless service entity in which families are not shunted around services.

Citizens must be heard in decisions that concern them
Disabled persons and other special groups must be allowed to decide where they live. Life-long services must not be tendered, but organised by means of individual budgeting. Patients and customers must be provided with more opportunities to influence the social and healthcare decisions and services that concern them.

Remove health centre fees
Everyone has the right to receive free, high quality healthcare services. Service fees must not be increased but lowered. Health centre fees must be abolished.

Services must not be privatised or forcefully corporatised
Services must be organised and provided publicly, while private and third-sector service provision complements public services. We must prevent the spillover of citizens’ tax money into international health giants and tax havens. Public services must not be forcefully corporatised, because this will lead to people being increasingly shunted around, break up service chains, and reduce democratic accountability. To ensure openness, the Act on the Openness of Government Activities must be applied to corporate public services.

Democratically elected regional councillors decide
Social and health service related decision-making must remain in the hands of democratically elected officials. Social and health services must not be corporatised and regions must not be forced to adopt the failed and bureaucratic purchaser-provider model. Regions must be given the leeway to make service-related decisions on the basis of regional needs and characteristics. To ensure autonomy, regions must have the right to raise taxes.

 

World’s best schools and early childhood education for all

Finland is known for having the best schools in the world. Providing high-quality education for all is our main strength and source of pride. The Left Alliance promotes equal education opportunities for all Finns.
An investment in early childhood education is an investment in well-being as well as the economy. Early childhood education levels out disparities caused by different family backgrounds and improves learning outcomes. In kindergarten, children learn social skills, self-expression and interactive skills. These skills enable future learning and allow children to develop into active citizens.
The Sipilä government has diluted the quality of early childhood education by increasing group sizes and imposing restrictions on the subjective right to day care for families where a parent is unemployed or on child-care leave. Limiting the right to day care creates unequal conditions for children, complicates the everyday lives of families and makes it difficult for parents to take temporary jobs.

Finnish primary schools have the world’s best teachers and highly developed teaching methods. Unfortunately, the best primary school system in the world is facing the onset of educational inequality. Learning outcomes have declined and regional and gender differences have increased. The parents’ education is increasingly a predictor of children’s learning outcomes. The Left Alliance aims to halt the onset of educational inequality in early childhood and other education. We want to make sure that teachers have enough time to devote to their students and that the well-being of both students and teachers is ensured. We need to make sure that the Finnish education system continues to be the best in the world.

Representatives of The Left Alliance commit to the following goals:

Equal rights to early childhood education for all children
Every child must have an equal opportunity to participate in early childhood education. This promotes families’ freedom of choice and equality between children. The subjective right to early childhood education must be restored in municipalities that have abandoned it. Finland must create a system modelled on the Swedish system, where all 3- to 5-year-olds are guaranteed cost-free early childhood education.

Equal primary school, including in the future
We must provide additional financial support for schools that need it. We need to stave off regional inequality by means of affordable housing and urban planning. Entrance exams must not be used when setting up groups in primary education, as they create inequality between teaching groups. Supervised morning and afternoon activities must be organised for younger pupils.

Teaching group sizes must be kept reasonable in early childhood education and primary school
No early childhood education professional must be responsible for more than seven children above the age of three, or four children below the age of three. Primary school teaching groups must not exceed 20 students. Small groups allow teachers to focus on their core duties and enable students to learn at their own pace.

Access to continued studies for all basic education graduates
Immediate access to continued studies must be guaranteed for each and every basic education graduate. Enough places must be available in proportion to the number of adolescents in each municipality. Enough resources must be allocated to professional education in order to guarantee sufficient contact-based teaching.

Digital transformation through attention to students’ individual backgrounds
Digital tools and methods must support teaching. Schools must ensure that all students have access to devices required for teaching. Municipalities must share best practices, for example in IT, by participating in the planning of hardware purchases for educational purposes.

Pupil welfare and support services that meet various needs
The level of school health services and educational welfare officer services and the number of school psychologists must be sufficient, and these services must be easily accessible for children and adolescents. Special needs education must be available at all levels of education and the number of learning support staff must be sufficient. Family and youth work must be organised in seamless cooperation with schools.

Attention to the well-being and development opportunities of staff
Enough resources in terms of working hours must be dedicated to the implementation of the new primary school and gymnasium curricula. Sufficient investments must be made in the wellbeing at work of teaching staff. Training resources must be invested in improving the ICT skills of teaching staff and summer pay must be paid to all staff members.

 

Improved employment rate and fair terms of employment

There are many ways in which a municipality influences the vitality and employment situation of its region. Municipalities create the conditions for vitality and employment, for example by means of planning and traffic policy, public procurement, education and business services.
As employers, municipalities are of key importance and employ a significant number of employees. Municipalities are key employers of the female labour force in particular. The Left Alliance believes that municipalities must be responsible and fair employers. Healthy, competent and motivated employees are able to provide municipal citizens with high-quality services.

Municipalities must take responsibility for the employment of long-term unemployed and hard-to-employ people. The Left Alliance believes that municipalities should play an active role in fulfilling this responsibility. It would pay off to provide employment to people rather than pay costs related to unemployment and ill-being.

Representatives of The Left Alliance commit to the following goals:

Planning and traffic policies support vitality
Planning, construction and traffic arrangements must support employment and the vitality of businesses. Public transportation must enable employment, affordable housing must enable the availability of labour force, and municipalities must plan enough commercial slots.

Business services benefit SMEs in particular
In particular, municipal business services must meet the needs of new and small enterprises, for example through business counselling. Municipalities could also offer collaboration facilities to sole entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs must be provided with financial and debt counselling.

Procurement supports local and responsible business operations
Municipal procurement is of key importance to the economy and employment. Social criteria must be applied in procurement, for example to create on-the-job training positions for upper-secondary level students and employment for long-term unemployed persons. Procurement must be planned so that it enables local and small entrepreneurs to participate in bids. Procurement must observe collective agreements and legislation and fair tax payment practices.

Support and employment for the long-term unemployed
An active employment policy and a sufficient employment budget are needed to reduce long-term unemployment. Services for the unemployed must be provided on a one-stop shop basis. We must prevent long-term unemployment by offering health services, rehabilitation, training and pay-subsidised work opportunities to the unemployed. Health check-ups must be provided for all unemployed persons. Misuse of rehabilitative work must be addressed. Sports and exercise services and cultural services must be offered to the unemployed at a reduced rate, in order to support their wellbeing.

Municipalities are good employers
Municipalities employ a large number of people and staff are a key resource of a municipality. The status of employees must be ensured in the major regional and social and health service reform under way. A healthy employer policy does not involve temporary dismissals; instead, sufficient employee resources must be allocated to service provision. Employees must he heard and allowed to participate in the planning of their work. Municipal activities must not be forcefully corporatised or subjected to private profit seeking. Municipalities need to be aware of the increasing diversity of society and promote equality in recruitment.

The municipal employer provides training and supports well-being at work
The municipal employer provides all employees with regular training opportunities and supports their well-being at work. The well-being at work of elderly employees must be supported by means of job rotation and by enabling the voluntary reduction of working hours. Studies show that providing employees with the opportunity to have a say about their working hours prolongs the careers of employees nearing retirement age and reduces early retirement.

 

Affordable housing and a good environment

A key task of municipalities is to ensure that the living environments of residents are functional and comfortable. Municipalities are responsible for regional housing policy, transport and traffic infrastructure, parks, water and sewage systems and building control. Municipal policies affect issues such as the cost of living, cycling conditions, or air pollution.

The Left Alliance wants to build municipalities in which everything works. We want to build municipalities where everyone can find affordable housing that meets their needs. We want to build municipalities with a well-functioning public transport system and where services can also be accessed by walking or cycling. The Left Alliance wants to build municipalities with diverse residential areas, where inhabitants are able to take part in the development of their environment.

Representatives of The Left Alliance commit to the following goals:

Curbing the cost of living
The cost of living must be kept at a reasonable level by building enough housing and by exercising a strong land policy. Municipalities must plan sufficient apartment housing to satisfy local demand and build affordable, municipal-owned rental apartments. Large towns and cities must introduce a mechanism for curbing rent hikes.

Improved quality of construction
School buildings affected by mould and other buildings with indoor air problems must be fixed or renovated. We must prevent this problem from reoccurring by means of stricter building control and improved construction counselling services. More environment health inspections must be conducted. We must prevent renovation debt by investing in renovations and through proper maintenance. Builders and general contractors must take greater responsibility for the quality of construction. Municipalities must favour domestic timber building in their construction projects.

Building harmonious residential areas
Municipalities must encourage diversity in residential areas and fight residential differentiation. New rental housing must be fairly distributed across municipalities and service quality must be equal in all areas.

A city of arts and greenery
One per cent of public construction budgets must be allocated to art and municipalities must support different forms of art and street art projects. Art must be brought to residential areas and suburbs. Green areas, urban forests and parks must be well cared for.

Municipalities must be energy-wise
Municipalities must participate in the fight against climate change by means of energy-efficient construction and through municipal energy companies investing in renewable energy. Public procurement must take account of environmental considerations and urban planning must support emission reduction.

Proper public transportation
We must invest strongly in public transport services and quality to enable car-free living. Cities and towns must make significant investments in public transport and, in the countryside, the service level offered must enable the use of everyday services. Further investments must be made in demand responsive transport and service transport.

Improving the status of cycling and walking
Planning must enable cycling and walking. Bicycle and pedestrian traffic must be taken into account at the planning and service design stages. Street planning and road maintenance must support safe and smooth bicycle and pedestrian traffic.