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Mon, 09 Dec, 2013 10:16:37 PM
PM defends elderly care service cut
FTimes-STT Report, December 9
 
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen in an Interview session with YLE Radio on Sunday. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on Sunday said that the agitation near Tampere Hall during the celebration of Independence Day on Friday did not bear any political message.
 
Speaking to the Yle Radio in its morning breakfast programme, the premier also defended the government’s structural reform package for reducing elderly care services.
 
“I did not find any political motive behind the protest in Tampere,” said Katainen, adding that that a violent programme never could be a political message.
 
The Prime Minister said that he did not understand such kind of actions, although he stated that Finland has freedom of expression and it should be used in a responsible manner.
 
The exceptional incident of massive violence took place outside the Tampere hall, where the president and first lady were according reception to the designated citizen.
 
Police arrested 28 protesters from the spot in connection with the violence, which caused damage of property worth about thousands of Euros and wounded a number of people including some policemen, police said.
 
Talking to the government’s structural reforms, which cut Euro 300 million from elderly care service, Katainen said that the measure is about providing more humanely  and improved services to the elderly people which will entail cuts from the expensive institutional care.
 
He observed that lot of unnecessary expenditure goes to the institutional care now.
 
“It is not important that whether the elderly people more than 75 years old would be shifted to homes, what is important is providing round-the-clock care to them,” said the Prime Minister, adding that every person should have the proper care service.
 
Earlier, on November 30, Health and Social Services Minister Susanna Huovinen also defended the government’s structural reform package for reducing elderly care services.
 
She said shifting institutional care services to home care services for the elderly people would help the country economically.
 
“We have calculated that had we abolished institutional care for the elderly in 2007, we would have saved up to half a billion Euros,” she said.
 
The reform package was announced by the government on November 29.
 
The six-party alliance government expressed hopes that the tight structural reform package – prepared by reducing allocations for the elderly services and regional library network , and hiking childcare fees – would help the country face the tough economic situation.
 
The reforms, including issues like work leave, will continue together with reforms in the labour market organisation and the measures will lead to more strict terms and conditions.
 
 
 
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