Twenty-one mayors criticise government’s municipal aid offer

City mayors say the'll have to raise taxes or cut services to make ends meet because of the amount of money they're spending during the coronavirus crisis.

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File picture showing detail on exterior of Helsinki City Hall / Credit: News Now Finland

Mayors from 21 Finnish cities have written an open letter criticising the government’s new offer to help their finances.

In an open letter signed by the mayors of the C21 network (which includes the cities of Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Vantaa, Jyväskylä, Joensuu and Rovaniemi among others), the group said they were unsatisfied with the current compensation plans calling them insufficient and ambiguous.

“Finland’s coalition government made a decision-in-principal on 8 April to grant the country’s municipalities with approximately one billion euros in compensation to cover expenses associated with the covid-19 pandemic. According to the latest estimates, however, this would only cover about half of the costs Finnish municipalities will incur” the letter says.

The C21 mayors say the financial situation for many municipalities was already challenging before the coronavirus outbreak, and if not enough compensation comes from the state for the money they have to spend to fight the pandemic, then they will have to consider cutbacks and tax increases to maintain a balanced budget.