The City of Helsinki’s Objectives for the Government Programme aim at partnership and policies that support growth

Helsinki aims to strike a partnership and cooperation with the future government. When Helsinki’s resources, availability of labour and transport connections are all in good order, the capital can take care of the services for its 650,000 inhabitants as well as act as booster of well-being for all of Finland and also as a hub for science and research.
A strong capital benefits all of Finland. Helsinki published its objectives for the future government programme on 10 November 2022. Photo: Jussi Hellsten
A strong capital benefits all of Finland. Helsinki published its objectives for the future government programme on 10 November 2022. Photo: Jussi Hellsten

The special characteristics of growing cities must be considered during the upcoming government’s term of office

The next government’s term of office begins in a situation where Helsinki’s financial standing will not be the same due to the upcoming social welfare and health care reform. For this reason, the next government should not make reforms that weaken the municipalities’ economy and investment capacity. It is also necessary to finally take the special characteristics of growing cities into consideration in national decision-making so that the cities can retain their position as engines of growth for the entire country.

“Helsinki and, in the bigger picture, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area will continue to grow. In particular, the number of people speaking a foreign language  and the working-age population are increasing faster than in the rest of the country. A growing city also entails large investments. Therefore, the next government should focus on solutions that strengthen the investment capacity and tax base of cities and thereby strengthen the entire national economy. The system of central government transfers to local government should also be reformed so that it takes the costs originate from people speaking a foreign language into consideration,” says Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki. 

“The threat of cuts to the funding of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care must be prevented. The financing model of Social Services and Health Care needs to be fixed. The model should take the special characteristics of cities, such as the high number of social problems and people speaking a foreign language, into much better consideration,” Deputy Mayor Daniel Sazonov emphasises. 

The shortage of experts can be resolved through close cooperation

The availability of skilled labour and raising the skill level are national challenges that the future government must tackle. 

“The labour market in Finland is strongly diverging and thus the resources of education should be allocated to places where the needs are the greatest. As an ageing nation, we need more and more immigration,” Deputy Mayor Nasima Razmyar reveals.

International labour and students are particularly focused on the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and Helsinki plays a key role in attracting them. During the upcoming government’s term of office, both work- and education-based immigration need to be increased, permit processes need to be further accelerated and e-services need to be developed. International talent is needed on a permanent basis, which means that the resources in central government and large cities for services that support attracting international talent and getting them to settle down must also be permanent.
Regional differences in well-being have increased in Finland, and inequality has come to a head particularly in large cities. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the loneliness and learning challenges in already vulnerable young people. In the upcoming government’s term of service, greater efforts must be made to combat segregation so that all young people can find their place. This requires strengthening the financing models and cooperation between the various branches of government,” says Deputy Mayor Paavo Arhinmäki.

Investments in Helsinki are also investments in all of Finland

With Russia’s war of aggression, improving Finland’s accessibility has become all the more important. In addition to improving accessibility, Finland’s competitive strength is also strengthened by investments in the operating conditions of science and research. Helsinki and, in the bigger picture, the Helsinki Metropolitan Area play a decisive role in both of these. 

Helsinki is a significant transport hub for the world from Finland and a hub for Finnish science and research, which must be further strengthened for the benefit of all of Finland.

The future government must invest in improving the competitive strength and accessibility of all of Finland. From this perspective, investments in rail transport, especially in Suomirata (Finland Track) and the associated Lentorata (Flight Track), play a key role, as they shorten the travel times from the various regions to the world.

“It is also necessary to invest in public transport connections in Helsinki and in the entire Helsinki Metropolitan Area. This is the common objective of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, as it increases labour mobility and housing construction, and it ensures sustainable growth, competitive strength and the preconditions for the development of public transport,” Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki underlines.