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Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila gives a statement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Stefanie Loos


HELSINKI (Reuters) - The Finnish government will implement health and local government reforms in January 2020, Prime Minister Juha Sipila wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, effectively announcing a one-year delay to the centre-right government's key reform.

The reforms are a cornerstone of Sipila's plan to balance Finland's public finances and boost the economy after a decade of stagnation. The reform aims to curb future health care costs by around 3 billion euros (£2.4 billion) as Finland struggles with an ageing population.

But a parliamentary committee said last week that some of the government's proposal to boost competition between public and private service providers breached Finland's constitution, and that implementing the changes in January 2019 was unrealistic.

The government said in a statement it will bring an amended proposal to parliament and will also draft a new bill that provides patients with new options for choosing between private and public services providers.

The reform will establish 18 new counties and move responsibility for the provision of services to new health care regions, from more than 300 local governments at present.

Overall, the government plans to find savings worth 10 billion euros to balance public finances over the long term.

(Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; Editing by Toby Chopra)