Friday’s papers: Government cuts fight, Tampere school violence and an even colder spell | Yle News | #schoolsaftey

The government is looking to reduce public spending deficits.

Finland is set to see much cold conditions next week. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Helsingin Sanomat reports on an upcoming debate within the government about how to find hundreds of millions of euros of new austerity measures.

Central government is required to fund health and social care regions, which take over their duties and obligations from municipalities. Their first year of operation has seen them overshoot their budgets, despite ministers’ calls for spending restraint and efficiency measures.

As central government takes over that responsibility from municipalities, the sums distributed in regional aid to councils will also decline.

But the Finance Ministry did not tell councils the final sums until a fortnight ago, a month after most councils had finalised their budgets and tax rates.

That leaves a deficit and the government will need to fill it, reports HS. The budget cuts will hit in 2025, when the next local elections are due, and it is unlikely that the government parties will want to be entering those elections, having forced through those municipal budget cuts.

So HS suggests that the budgetary pain will fall on central government spending, as the government has taken a negative stance on new public debt. The issue should be settled one way or the other in spring 2024, according to the senior official at the Finance Ministry.

Tampere school fighting

Tampere daily Aamulehti reports on an increase in violence in the region’s schools. Last year there were 81 criminal complaints about violent incidents in schools there, while in the year to 30 November there have been 130.

In 2021 there were 93 all year. A police officer tells AL that the increase might be down to a growing realisation that violence in schools is unacceptable and a criminal matter, and can’t be played down as “school bullying”.

Several education officials from the region suggest that the situation has worsened after the pandemic. Incidents are now more likely to be filmed and distributed on social media as well.

There has also been an increase of around ten percent in child welfare reports to social services in Pirkanmaa compared to last year.

Colder weather

Iltalehti says that next week could see a much colder front move into Finland, bringing temperatures as low as -20 degrees even in the south.

There is some uncertainty about the extent of the change, as cloud cover can keep temperatures higher than they would otherwise be, but clearly chillier conditions are on the way.

Early December conditions are normally around zero in the south of Finland, but colder air from the east is set to make things much colder than that.

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