A Humane Finland

SDP’s election manifesto in municipal elections 2017

SDP always upholds equal treatment of people. We want to build a fairer and more humane society. The kind of Finland where every person is valued and honoured. We want to strengthen security and hope for the future, bring well-being to every municipality in Finland. Let’s keep everyone aboard.

Three themes – nine actions for a more humane Finland

Investments in education are investments in the future.

Education is the ability to make choices, understand their consequences and evaluate the consequences critically. Both in your own life and for the common good. The social development that has taken place in the last years both in Finland and across the world has, once again, reminded us why education has such an important value in it self. Education is responsibility for our common world and future.

1. Let’s take care of our schools

The best comprehensive school in the world is one of the greatest achievements of our welfare state, one of the cornerstones of equality of opportunity. Every child deserves the same opportunities to build their own path. Comprehensive school gives an equal starting point for everyone and everywhere in Finland.

However, the working places of children and teachers are now in danger. Poor indoor air and mould problems damage the health of tens of thousands of children and teachers.

That is why we need a renovation building programme to ensure the occupational safety of our children and education experts – in all schools in Finland.

2. More time together for families

Combining work and family life just must be made easier than it is now. We want to increase families’ freedom of choice with the arrangement of family leaves and, in particular, the possibility of fathers to participate in taking care of their children.

We can enhance the safety and well-being of our children also by integrating hobbies into the school day in the morning and afternoon. For this we need cooperation between municipalities and the third sector.

A new kind of integrated school day brings more hours to the everyday lives of families, evenings for mothers, fathers, and children.

3. Every child deserves the same opportunities

In addition to schools and homes, children take their first steps in education in nursery schools. Our tuition-free education from pre-school education all the way to research training is admired across the world.

Learning new things and interacting with others are children’s’ rights irrespective of their family’s wealth or social status. Tolerant, open-minded citizens who take care of one another grow in conditions where the well-being of families is supported and the resources of early childhood education and care are secured.

The job is not done. The entire early childhood education and care must be made free of charge.

Well-being in all stages of life

Our objective is to always protect disadvantaged people. If in doubt, side with the weaker one. Every one of us needs support in life sometimes. That is why we uphold our strong Nordic welfare state – with its services and safety nets.

4. Taxpayers’ money is meant for services for the people

Social and health services are in need of a reform. The reform must be carried out with the needs of people, not the market, in mind. People’s health and well-being are not for sale.

Decision-making power in well-being services belongs to municipal citizens. We want the public sector to continue to be responsible for the organisation and production of services, complemented by the private and third sectors.

To ensure equal opportunities to all, we will make sure that the customer fees in health care will not prevent anyone from getting treatment. High-quality social and health services paid for by taxes for citizens in all municipalities can be ensured by municipal cooperation and by being at the forefront in implementing the possibilities of new technology to follow one’s own health and maintain the ability to function.

5. A dignified old age is everyone’s right

A humane Finland respects and honours its elderly people. We have the responsibility and duty to make sure that there are enough helping hands in eldercare in all care facilities in our country.

At the same time, we want to enhance the possibilities of our elderly people to live safely in their own homes. Investments in home care, rehabilitation and meals on wheels services enhance the quality of life of our elderly people.

With social democrats in the lead, there will be housing solutions to suit everyone’s needs and support for family caregivers.

6. Everyone’s resources to use

Thousands of young people in Finland annually are left without a study, training or work place. At worst, this leads to a spiral of social exclusion, the human and economic price of which is immeasurable.

We must get everyone’s resources to use. That is why we want to develop the youth guarantee further. Outreach youth work is the tool that will help us to reach young people under threat of social exclusion. Every young person deserves a path to studies, training or work. In the end, it is the municipalities of our country that are responsible for clearing that path.

To celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence, we propose that all young people in our country should get a summer job.

Innovating and vibrant municipalities

SDP is a party for people everywhere in Finland. We want to develop the vitality of all municipalities. However, the future of our Nordic welfare state is also influenced by how the different areas of Finland and their vitality are strengthened.

7. Affordable homes

Large urban areas concentrated on know-how have been the winners of globalisation both in Finland and elsewhere. Jobs and social networks in towns attract new skilled labour and businesses. At the same time, housing costs often rise unbearable for families with children or for students.

The success of big towns must not be just for the few. That is why we need new community policy in growth centres to ensure planning and building of affordable homes for ordinary people – alongside dense and fast public transport networks that enable getting around without private cars. In transport solutions, we will highlight building bicycle paths, the roads of the 21st century. Social democrats will ensure that fixing and reforming our suburbs as well as infill construction will begin.

8. Whole Finland in shape

The changing world has treated different areas in our country in different ways. We have seen both ever more international urban areas and, on the other hand, depopulation, decline in the value of housing, and withering services in areas of negative net migration. This creates a vicious cycle – a breeding ground for social exclusion and populism based on lies.

We want to ensure the possibility to live a decent life everywhere in Finland. We will strengthen the know-how of areas and uphold the training places based on it. High value added jobs must be generated also outside growth centres. We can support this development with sensible, future-oriented ownership and industrial policy.

We will also secure library, culture, and sports services as well as affordable recreational possibilities in the entire country. Finland will succeed only through knowledge and skills.

9. Building a bridge to work

The best decisions are made close to people. Municipalities know the local labour market and the ways to conquer unemployment. Municipalities must take the responsibility for the employment services for the long-term unemployed. The resources related to them must be transferred to the municipalities. This ensures a connection to other services and industrial policy of the municipality.

The bridge to new work is built with active employment policy: updating skills, increasing education and training opportunities, and supporting entrepreneurship. Every municipality must move from pushing the unemployed around to really seeking employment.

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