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Swiss to vote on guaranteed income for all

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Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
21:08 CET+01:00
Every Swiss adult resident would have the right to guaranteed basic monthly income of 2,500 francs a month, if a proposal to be submitted to voters this summer is accepted.

The initiative, proposed by a group of intellectuals, was one of five subjects approved by the federal government on Wednesday for the ballot box on June 5th.

Switzerland will become the first country in the world to vote on the introduction of unconditional income at the national level.

But it has not won much support from traditional politicians, even those on the left.

The initiative’s backers say it aims to break the link between employment and income, with people entitled to guaranteed income regardless of whether they work.

Each child would receive 625 francs a month.

The federal government estimates the cost of the proposal at 208 billion francs a year.

Around 153 billion taxes would have to be levied from taxes, while 55 billion francs would be transferred from social insurance and social assistance spending.

The action committee pushing the initiative consists of artists, writers and intellectuals, including publicist Daniel Straub, former federal government spokesman Oswald Sigg and Zurich rapper Franziska Schläpfer (known as “Big Zis”), the SDA news agency reported.

Personalities supporting the bid include writers Adolf Muschg and Ruth Schweikert, philosopher Hans Saner and communications expert Beatrice Tschanz.

The group said a new survey showed that the majority of Swiss residents would continue working if the guaranteed income proposal was approved.

Only two percent would stop working, while eight percent said they could envisage this possibility depending on circumstances.

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“The argument of opponents that a guaranteed income would reduce the incentive of people to work is by this is largely contradicted,” the initiative’s committee said in a statement.

However, a third of the 1,076 people interviewed for the survey by the Demoscope Institute believed that “others would stop working”.

And more than half of those surveyed (56 percent) believe the guaranteed income proposal will never see the light of day.

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