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Friday's papers: Budget leaks, electricity bills and bus behaviour

Finland's seventh supplementary budget of 2020, energy over-charging and annoying passengers all make Friday's headlines.

Sanna Marin tapaa mediaa Säätytalon portailla ennen hallituksen iltakoulua.
File photo of Prime Minister Sanna Marin speaking to the media outside the House of the Estates in Helsinki. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Helsingin Sanomat reports that, according to its sources, the government is preparing a two billion euro supplementary budget to help the Finnish economy recover from the coronavirus crisis -- a story that is picked up by many of the rest of Friday morning’s papers.

The supplementary budget, which will be negotiated by government parties at the House of the Estates in Helsinki on Friday afternoon, will be the seventh amendment so far this year.

According to HS, about 400 million euros of this additional money will be channeled into supporting businesses, while about 100 million euros will be allocated to transport services and "tens of millions" of euros will be provided for the cultural sector, with the intention of supporting individual artists, events, theatres and orchestras.

Money will also be set aside for increased coronavirus testing, financing basic municipal services and "government communications", HS reports.

Tabloid Iltalehti meanwhile writes that at least part of this additional investment will be financed by the Finnish state taking on more debt. At the beginning of October, Finland's public debt was estimated to increase by more than 20 billion euros this year.

Pulling the plug

The government is also preparing a bill for Parliament that will "suffocate" the potential for energy companies to unnecessarily raise prices, according to a report in the business magazine Talouselämä.

The proposed legislative change is partly in response to an Yle investigative piece which discovered that many companies in Finland are charging more than necessary to fund storm-proof upgrades to their power networks.

Minister for Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä (Cen) responded to questions on this issue in Parliament on Thursday and promised to bring the government’s proposal before the house by early November.

Article continues after audio.

Audio: Yle News

"Don’t worry. It is coming and it will clearly suffocate the opportunity that energy companies currently have to raise these prices," TE reports Lintilä as saying.

National Coalition Party MP Pia Kauma asked the Minister if consumers could expect to be reimbursed for the excess on bills already paid as part of the government’s proposal, something which the Finnish Consumers' Association has also demanded.

Lintilä replied that such a measure would be "difficult to implement".

Finnish nightmares

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat revives an old favourite on Friday morning: listing the types of passengers that people find most annoying on public transport in Finland, as compiled from a "lively discussion" on the vauva.fi online discussion forum.

The issues include such social misdemeanours as shoes on seats, people watching videos on their phones without headphones and "manspreading".

There was also a special mention for people shouting "thank you" at the driver from either the middle or the end of the bus or carriage, something which visitors to Finland also often find to be something of a curious Finnish oddity.

But the worst of all is defined in a short, simple sentence by one discussion forum contributor.

"Anyone, who tries to speak to me," the online commenter wrote, to widespread agreement.

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