HELSINKI – €100 for everyone?

Education Minister and Left Alliance Chairperson, Li Andersson, has proposed a €100 handout for all citizens to kickstart the economy following the coronavirus health crisis as part of the 1 May rallies, which traditionally serve as a platform for political initiatives, promises and grand gestures from all parties.

According to Andersson, a €100 note would be the easiest and quickest way to revive the economy and would particularly benefit the service sector and small-scale businesses as people could go to restaurants, cultural events, get their hair done and more.

Her initiative received a mixed reaction.

Both the Finnish Chamber of Commerce and the organisation representing entrepreneurs (Suomen Yrittäjät) considered the leftist minister’s idea interesting and worth a second thought.

However, the confederation of trade unions (SAK) would prefer an increase in unemployment benefits. A poll among citizens has shown that many would spend that extra sum on gasoline, new glasses or children’s hobbies.

Overall, turbulent times are to be expected for Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s (SDP) five-party centre-leftist government as Finance Minister Katri Kulmuni (Centre) has said there would have to be cuts and reforms would have to be postponed.

In her speech on 1 May, however, Li Andersson said otherwise. 

“It is essential that we have the courage to act in order to avoid bankruptcies and to boost domestic spending. In the middle of the crisis, budget cuts would be the most certain way just to deepen the crisis,” said the minister. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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