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Banker Wahlroos warns of brain drain - unless gov't cuts taxes

Straight-talking banking mogul Björn Wahlroos has called for the incoming administration to reduce taxes on labour across the board. Speaking to Yle Saturday, Wahlroos said that government must ensure that skilled individuals don't leave the country in a bid to escape Finland's heavy taxes.

Björn Wahlroos
Björn Wahlroos Image: Yle

Speaking on Yle's Ykkösaamu Saturday morning discussion pogramme, Wahlroos said that the next government's most important mission would be to lighten the tax burden on all workers.

"It can be done so that it would most benefit low income earners or those who are unemployed. Earned income deductions should be increased to make wages for low income earners almost tax-free. It would also make it easier to return to the job market after a period of unemployment," Wahlroos explained.

Wahlroos himself came in for a flood of criticism from his compatriots when it emerged that he had essentially re-located to neighbouring Sweden, ostensibly because of the gentler tax rates there.

He called on the authorities to ensure that more skilled individuals such as engineers and product developers don't leave Finland to work elsewhere because of this country's high tax rates.

"The sad thing is that economic policy measures rarely yield results in the short term," he remarked, referring to difficulties facing the new government as it ponders how best to set the ailing economy back on its feet.

He pointed out that as far back as four years ago when ex-PM Jyrki Katainen was assembling his government, many economic gurus had warned of the economic challenges ahead.

"At the time we adopted a policy of not taking advice on board. Now four years have been lost and many bad decisions have been made, among them a decision to increase taxes. That's why it would not be fair to look for a silver bullet that would fix everything in just six months," Wahlroos concluded.

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