Please note: This is an unofficial translation into English made by municipal election candidate Arvind Ramachandran on 18.2.2021. The official version in Finnish is available at https://helsinki.vasemmisto.fi/kuntavaalikarjet-2021/.
These election themes, approved by the district board of the Helsinki Left Alliance on 13 January 2021, are based on the municipal election program approved by the autumn district meeting on 5 December 2020.
WELL-FUNCTIONING LOCAL SERVICES
Every resident of Helsinki has a right to high-quality local services in their own residential area throughout Helsinki. A social and health center, local library, daycare, neighbourhood school and sports facilities are prerequisites for a safe and good living environment. The neighbourhood school principle must be extended to include early childhood education. Smooth public transport connections and proper walking and cycling paths ensure a well-functioning everyday life.
EQUALITY IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING
As the most affluent municipality in Finland, Helsinki does not need to cut back on education and training. Helsinki can also afford to invest in the forthcoming secondary school reform. Different learners need to be supported at all levels by ensuring a sufficient number of tutors, school psychologists and school curators. The subjective right to early childhood education and adequate resources for a non-discriminatory primary school should be available to every child in Helsinki. A safe transition to secondary schooling guarantees a just starting point for adulthood.
URBAN SPACE THAT RESPECTS THE ENVIRONMENT
Preserving urban nature and promoting biodiversity, as well as improving air quality, are key actions to increase the well-being of city-dwellers. Increasing energy efficiency, waste heat recovery and renewable energy solutions are ways to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality in this decade. Coal must be phased out by 2025. Comprehensive and affordable public transport solutions create the green Helsinki of the future.
RIGHT TO HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Appointments must be made available within a week for primary health care, mental health services and substance abuse services. Funding for child protection and other social work needs to be increased. High level of care, quality of housing and quality of life for the elderly must be ensured in both home care and serviced housing. Employee salaries and well-being at work are crucial to the city maintaining a skilled workforce within the social and healthcare sectors. Undocumented persons must be offered access to non-urgent care as well. Preventive work in both social and healthcare services needs to be encouraged, and help from multiple professionals must be easy to obtain.
SUSTAINABLE WORK AND SUFFICIENT LIVELIHOOD
The city of Helsinki must be a fair employer which leads by example. City employees must receive a monthly salary of at least € 2,000. Helsinki must draw up an employment program to employ those who have become unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Increased youth unemployment needs to be actively addressed. Procurement needs to be broken down into smaller parts so that companies of all sizes can participate in tenders. Services that citizens need at different stages of their lives must be provided mainly as public services. The city must ensure that its own activities or activities outsourced to other agencies do not involve exploitation or human trafficking.
AFFORDABLE HOME AND WELL-FUNCTIONING CONSTRUCTION
Housing costs need to be brought under control and the number of affordable rental housing units needs to increase rapidly. Helsinki needs to ensure that housing is seen as a human right and that the homeless are offered homes that meet their needs. The housing production targets set by the city must be achieved both in ARA (Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland) housing production and in the city’s own rental housing production. Building permits for ecologically sustainable construction projects must be promoted and the quality of construction must be ensured.
A GOOD HELSINKI BELONGS TO EACH OF US
Municipal policy decisions must eliminate deprivation and social inequalities, while strengthening gender equality and dismantling oppressive structures. Linguistic and cultural diversity is Helsinki’s strength. Accessibility of services for people with disabilities and other special groups must be safeguarded and improved, for example by providing free public transport for people with reduced mobility. In order to prevent exclusion, the hobby guarantee must be fully implemented. Bullying, hate speech and racism must be strongly condemned. All decision-making must be based on the principles of human rights and sustainable development.