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Friday's papers: Mental health, booze and evolution of farm politics

More Finns are too depressed to work, parliamentary candidates would relax alcohol laws and some Centre Party members want to boycott the upcoming election.

Valkoviinilasi terassin pöydällä.
Image: Nella Nuora / Yle

Helsingin Sanomat’s leader examines the hemorrhaging effect early disability pensions have on public finances as Finland aspires to raise employment levels. The young age of recipients means more expenditure on pensions in the long term.

In 2018, some 20,000 people dropped out of the workforce for health reasons, which is 1,300 more persons than the year before. The spike was mainly driven by psychiatric conditions, according to the national daily.

Twenty-five to 44 year-olds make up the biggest group of early pensioners, with mental illness forcing more to retire early.

The number of pensions paid to people under 40 has risen by a fifth over the past decade – most frequently due to mental health or behavioural disorders.

Regulating alcohol availability

Nearly a quarter of parliamentary election candidates would permit the sale of strong alcoholic beverages in grocery stores, finds online newspaper Uusi Suomi, citing a study commissioned by the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention (EHYT).

Some 55 percent of Finns Party candidates and 58 percent of those representing the National Coalition would dismantle the state-controlled alcohol monopoly.

Overall, candidates were more in favour of relaxing than tightening regulations on alcoholic beverage sales.

Rural vs urban

The Swedish-language faction within the Centre Party is urging members to boycott next week’s general elections, reports agricultural newspaper Maaseudun Tulevaisuus.

Swedish-speaking executives with the party slammed the Centre for abandoning its agrarian roots, including protecting the interests of agriculture and rural areas.

Peter Knuts and Peter Albäck criticised current Centre leadership of driving neoliberal right-wing policies.

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