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MPs Grill Government over Budget Plan

Opposition MPs took the offensive as Parliament began debating next year's state budget on Tuesday.

The leader of the largest opposition bloc, SDP chair Eero Heinäluoma, accused the centre-right government parties of betraying their campaign promises. Former finance minister Heinäluoma aimed his sharpest criticism at the conservative National Coalition Party and its chair, Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen.

The opposition leader warned that those who will be hurt worst by these empty promises would be families with children, the low-income and low-paid women workers in the municipal sector.

The draft budget, penned by the Finance Ministry, has already made the round of ministries for comments. Government ministers will be defending it before Parliament for the rest of this week.

Spending for next year now stands at 43.1 billion euros. The government wants to use the budget surplus to reduce state debt. Opposition parties want the money to be spent on improving the lot of the poor and unskilled.

Katainen argues that the budget is quite generous, saying it allots funds for a variety of new causes.

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