CEO Expresses Concerns Over Budget Cuts’ Impact on Family Hobbies and Sports in Finland

Taina Susiluoto, the CEO of Finland’s Olympic Committee, is expressing deep concerns about the significant budget cuts and their potential impact on families’ daily lives. These cuts, amounting to six billion euros, are expected to have widespread effects across various aspects of family life.

One pressing concern is the affordability of hobbies for families in the future. The recent government announcement of budget reductions has left many families questioning whether they will still be able to support their children’s participation in physical activities.

Susiluoto emphasizes the need for a sensitive approach to these changes, especially if the goal is to address issues related to physical inactivity. It’s not only low-income families but also those with middle incomes who are unsure about their ability to continue engaging in physical activities.

However, Susiluoto finds hope in the reduction of income taxation for low- and middle-income earners. This reduction raises optimism that there may be no need to compromise on sports and recreational pursuits.

One notable concern raised by Susiluoto is the absence of any mention of cuts in organization grants. He believes that this omission may imply that certain programs or initiatives are not being canceled. The proposed reduction in the sports budget, approximately four percent less than the previous year, could potentially contradict the parliamentary agreement not to decrease such funding.

Susiluoto firmly believes in the significance of civic activities and voluntary work, considering them essential components of democracy. He emphasizes that the value of voluntary work in civic activities amounts to over three billion euros annually. Organizational grants play a crucial role in sustaining the vitality of various clubs and organizations, ensuring responsible coaching, and fostering vibrant communities.

Looking ahead, Susiluoto anticipates more detailed information about the cuts in organization grants, expected to be provided on October 9th by the government. He underscores the importance of preserving non-governmental organization activities and urges policymakers to consider the broader consequences of such reductions.

Susiluoto also calls for innovative approaches to address these challenges. He suggests exploring fiscal measures, such as introducing tax deductions for exercise and sports donations, to encourage support for physical activities. While such deductions exist in other countries, they are currently absent in Finland.

Additionally, Susiluoto hopes for further clarity and consideration regarding plans to increase the value-added tax (VAT) on sports services, scheduled to take effect in 2025. This VAT rate hike, from ten to 14 percent, could directly impact the costs incurred by those participating in physical activities.

In conclusion, Taina Susiluoto emphasizes the need for a comprehensive strategy to address the impact of budget cuts on physical activities, highlighting the importance of preserving civic engagement and exploring innovative fiscal measures to support sports and exercise in Finland.

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