FINLAND - The Finnish government has announced a guaranteed minimum pension for pensioners will be introduced in 2011.

The government confirmed in a statement the "so-called guarantee pension" would start at the beginning of March 2011, with the aim of securing a "reasonable level" of income for those receiving the smallest pensions.

Finland will put aside €111m to finance the initiative, with the level of guaranteed pensions set at €685 a month in current money, and claimed the new system would help around 123,000 pensioners.

Under the new system, the guaranteed pension supplement would be paid to pensioners who have an overall pension income - including both earnings related pension and national pension - that is less than the guaranteed level of €685.

The announcement follows the Finnish government's establishment of the SATA Committee in 2007 to reform the social protection system and attempt to reduce poverty, as well as ensure an adequate basic income and make the system simpler and clearer.

Specific principals for reform are expected by the end of February while the complete proposal will be submitted by the committee at the end of 2009, although in June 2008, Liisa Hyssälä, the minister for social and family affairs, highlighted the work of the SATA committee in developing a better social protection model for those on the smallest pensions.

Hyssälä said at the time pensions are a very crucial long-term benefit, so an increase in the minimum pension levels and the smallest of public pensions would be "justified".

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