Adoptive parenting must not only be supported but also encouraged. There can never be too many loving parents. Same-sex couples in a registered partnership must also have the right to adopt.
We support wide reform of adult education towards a system based upon personal education accounts. In our model, each citizen would receive a personal account in which credit will be granted, and accumulate, to be used for adult education. This will make the provision of adult education flexible, and responsive to human needs whilst increasing transparency and efficiency.
The future of agriculture cannot be solved by subsidies alone. The countryside must develop broad and diverse entrepreneurial activities. Productivity must be improved, and dependence on subsidies must be decreased. Agricultural environmental subsidies must be tied more closely to real benefits to the environment.
Biofuels offer significant opportunities to combat climate change, but are not risk-free. Attention must be paid to the environmental impacts of the use of biofuels. An international certification scheme for biofuels must be implemented, ensuring that they do not adversely affect food production or water resources in developing countries. In Finland the best source of biofuels is to be found in biomass.
Capital Gains Taxation
We support raising capital gains taxation, as a part of broader taxation reform in which the gap between capital gains and income taxation will be narrowed. We believe that capital gains taxation should be changed from a flat-rate, to a progressive system.
Car taxation must be developed to support the use of environmentally friendly public transport. Use of low emission cars should be rewarded with lower taxation.
Anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fact. Climate change threatens to cause significant harms, not only ecologically but economically and socially too. We support mandatory international restrictions on emissions, investment in environmental technology and the development of environmental taxation.
At the same time, we must promote a broader cultural shift in our attitudes towards the environment, pollution and renewable energy sources.
Children’s daycare is one of the most important equality-creating service systems. High-quality child care enables a more equal work-life for parents and provides children with opportunities for more varied hobbies and social togetherness. We support the idea of free day care, reduced group sizes, and the maintenance of a subjective right to day-care for all children.
Finland must actively support disarmament. Military spending must be frozen at current levels. In particular, efforts must be made to reduce the number of small arms globally. The SDP’s goal is world free of nuclear weapons.
We demand more and better shelters for victims. Crimes of assault must not require the victim to press charges when domestic abuse is suspected. We also demand a national action plan designed to eliminate violence against women.
Earnings-related social security
We are in favour of a welfare and social security model in which there is both an earnings-related and basic social security component. Earnings related payments encourage work, through which the highest level of social security can be achieved. This dual earned and basic system of social security is common across the Nordic countries, where poverty is the rarest in the world.
Everyone should have the right to a good education in accordance with their own abilities and interests. The Finnish free and equal education system has produced excellent results when compared to international standards, especially for elementary schooling. Insufficient or unequal funding of schooling is not only unfair, but also ineffective.
Regional differences in learning outcomes must be narrowed. Compulsory education should be extended to 18 years, and combining vocational and secondary school studies should be easier. Universities have a special role in society and their core funding should be strengthened. Higher education should be free of charge to the individual.
Our goal is full employment. Everyone should have the opportunity to have a full-time job which will pay a decent and fair wage. Part-time work must be an employee’s own choice, not something forced upon them. Resources for an active employment policy must be significantly increased. The labour market must become more flexible for workers. Improvements in work environments and the work-life balance are not only important goals, but a key way in which workers can remain productive for longer in their careers.
Finland should be an oil independent state by 2030. At the same time, energy consumption must be reduced to guarantee an affordable energy supply, particularly for Finnish industry.
Finland must construct a versatile and self-sufficient energy system. The share of energy production from domestic sources must be increased, including a green certification and subsidy scheme for renewable energy – based on genuine environmental criteria.
Finland’s electricity grid should be state controlled.
Growth-oriented businesses must be supported and encouraged. Long-term educational and economic policy must be supportive of business and entrepreneurship. We want to support entrepreneurship, particularly by increasing social security in the start-up phases and early years. By reducing the initial risks of entrepreneurship we give more people the ability to start their own businesses, whilst promoting innovation and employment.
We support Finland’s membership of the EU, as well as a strong and democratic European Union. The EU needs to be developed in a more social direction. Monetary policy should be aimed at tackling unemployment, as well as maintaining stability. The Union must be active in international issues, particularly with regards to climate change.
Families with children
Child benefit levels should be increased and more fairly linked to rises with living costs. We support a subjective right to day care for all children, and aim in the long term for this to be free of charge. In the short term we believe that the zero fee category should be retained for those on lower incomes.
A child has a right to parenting, and the SDP’s objective is one of equal parenthood. The parental leave scheme must be developed to ensure that both parents are guaranteed a share of the allowance. Fathers should be encouraged to take more parental leave than they currently do. The parental allowance period should be extended until the child reaches one year and the cost of parenting must be shared more evenly between all employers.
Financial Market Tax
We support a low-rate financial market tax, applied to trading in securities, derivatives and currencies. Such a tax would prevent speculation and excessive risk taking, as well as focusing economic activity on investment in the real economy.
We are strongly committed to gender equality. Equal work must always receive equal pay. We also aim for equal parenting, and the parental leave scheme must be developed to ensure that both parents are guaranteed a share of the allowance. The cost of parenting must be shared more evenly between all employers.
Globalization has produced both winners and losers, and societies are often becoming more divided as a result. The global economy needs stronger rules, and is not currently democratic enough to protect the rights and interests of many people. Transnational and democratic institutions must be strengthened and developed. Nationally, society must look to soften the most damaging effects of the global economy by investing in social security and education.
The status and resources of municipal health care must be strengthened. In particular, we must invest in basic health care. The creation of a ‘two-tiered’ system of private services for those who can afford them, and public services for the disadvantaged, must be prevented. Public health services must be of high quality and accessible to all.
Municipal health care user fees should not be increased, but on the contrary, they must be made more affordable for those with the greatest medical expenses. A key objective of health policy must be to reduce heath gaps between different sections of society.
High housing prices are a major social problem which cannot be ignored. In particular, society must invest in affordable rental housing opportunities. Those living in rented accommodation and property owners should not be treated unequally. Residential areas must be socially diverse and well maintained.
Income inequalities have increased in Finland in recent years. Large gaps between the wealth of different sections of society threaten the equality, social cohesion and overall wellbeing of society. We do not accept economic or social policies which lead to widening income inequality. Differences in income must be reduced, particularly by improving the livelihood of the most disadvantaged and providing better job opportunities, but also by raising taxation for the wealthiest members of society.
A thriving and competitive industrial sector forms a key pillar of Finland’s welfare. Society must ensure the success of industry by investing in high-quality infrastructure, a skilled workforce and creating a stable and secure business environment. Finnish industry thrives on expertise, specialization and cooperation.
International development and aid
Poverty remains the single biggest problem in the world. Finland, like all nations has responsibilities to the global community. We support the goal of development aid reaching 0.7% of GDP by 2015.
Finland must be an open society, which offers fair opportunities for each immigrant. Managed migration is needed and more must be done to aid integration and social cohesion – particularly with regards to social work and language learning. The clustering of immigrants in certain residential areas is a problem that must be tackled with better social policy. Work-related migration must remain linked to economic needs.
Finland should be responsible for its own defence. We do not support Finland’s membership in NATO. Defence policy should be based on general conscription for men, supplemented by a women’s voluntary military service, as well as a regional defence system to secure the entire country. Nordic and European military and political cooperation is a vital part of ensuring Finland’s future security.
We do not support NATO membership for Finland. Relations with NATO should be managed on the basis of the Partnership for Peace. The possibility of seeking membership in NATO must be preserved, but any application for NATO membership must not take place without the support of a majority of citizens.
We approve the construction of additional nuclear power plants as part of the diversification of Finnish energy sources. Investing in nuclear power must not come at the expense of investment in renewable energy sources.
The funding of pensions must be secured. Work pension contributions must be increased so that pension promises can be fulfilled. Taxation on pensions should not be higher than on equivalent income from wages. In years of high inflation, pension rates should be checked twice a year.
Pensions should accumulate from all forms of work, and must be secured in clear and binding legislation. Pension funds must be invested profitably, securely and ethically. The Social Democratic Party is committed to ensuring that working pensions will not be cut during the next parliamentary term.
Addressing poverty is a key part of social justice. Poverty must be reduced and prevented by tackling unemployment, improving social security and public services, and lowering essential living costs – particularly housing. We need a social security model which is more inclusive, more accessible and more effective in raising basic living standards.
Public services are the best example of social cooperation, responsibility and solidarity. All members of society must be able to recognise that their tax money leads to common, high-quality and easily accessible public services. This requires not only adequate funding, but good working conditions and services which meet the needs of people. Fees must not create obstacles to people using social and health care services. The cap on service charges should be lowered, and dental and residential care should be included in this scheme.
Private social welfare services can complement public sector service supply. Markets can be used where they function effectively, and not by promoting efficiency at the expense of service quality or poor working conditions. In the coming years public services will require significantly more labour.
We do not accept racism in any form. Every person is equally valuable.
Sexual and gender minorities
We support equal rights and opportunities for all. We want same-sex couples to have the right to adopt. Restrictions on blood donation by sexual minorities must be removed. The Marriage Act must be amended to become gender-neutral.
Swedish language status
We support the conservation of Swedish as a second official language of Finland.
The Trade Union and Social Democratic political movements share a long history together. Both were created as part of a broader labour movement demanding full human rights for oppressed and disadvantaged groups of people. The main objectives of the Trade Union movement regarding decent work, fair wages and a society based on agreement are also important for Social Democrats today.
Unemployment benefits must be improved with the aim of reaching the average Nordic level. The role of an active labour market policy is vital in reducing unemployment. Unemployment benefits must be developed to promote the fastest return to employment for the recipient. The starting level of unemployment benefits must be increased but the recipient and unemployment services must also work more closely. Every worker who loses their job must receive an offer of employment or training within three months.
United Nations UN
We support the UN’s reform process and the creation of a World Environment Organization. The size of the UN Security Council must be increased and new members should not be granted a right of veto. The SDP will work to promote Finland’s membership of the UN Security Council during the period of 2013-2014. The International Labour Organization’s status in determining working terms and conditions must be strengthened.
We demand an increase in the core-funding of Universities. Universities must focus on their strengths. Private funding is welcome, but it must not compromise the basic function of universities and their independence. University education should be free for the students.
The SDP supports development leading to Western Sahara’s independence.
Finland must develop its own bilateral relations with Russia at various levels. This will require a national action plan on Russia. At the same time the EU-Russia policy must be strengthened and made more coherent. Russia’s development must be followed and Europe should support its development towards a more democratic and pluralistic modern state.
We must take better care of our national assets. State-owned companies should be committed to a sustainable human resources policy and be able to operate to long term strategies, even in times of recession. State shareholdings in companies should be able to be increased. State enterprises with special duties should not be sold. VR must remain state-owned.
Maintaining an extensive Nordic welfare state requires a broad and solid tax base. Fairness demands that tax on earned income must be reduced, whilst capital gains and wealth taxes should be increased. Taxation must support employment, and reduce income inequalities. Taxation must also encourage an ecologically sustainable way of life.
Temporary workers must be provided with better job security and a more reliable guaranteed salary. In municipalities, ‘substitute pools’ should be created giving more workers permanent jobs. Working hours and holidays must be consolidated in ‘banks’ to guarantee they are respected even when workers move between jobs.