Ban on cars proposed for welfare recipients

Ban on cars proposed for welfare recipients
Photo: BFU
People receiving welfare in the canton of Zurich face losing the right to drive a car under proposed legislation that appears to have majority backing.

The parliamentary initiative from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the Liberals has the backing of two other parties, the SDA news agency reported on Monday.

The proposal would ban recipients of social assistance from using cars.

The SVP has already announced a campaign to cut welfare services in Zurich, regarding them as too generous and too costly for the canton.

The party argues that the system is leading to welfare dependency, rather than serving as a bridge in an emergency situation.

The SVP has particularly taken aim at social assistance given to asylum seekers, calling for a ten percent overall reduction in social assistance benefits.

“To use a car can easily cost 500 francs ($525) a month — that’s something welfare recipients can’t afford,” SVP MP Claudio Schmid was quoted as saying earlier this month by 20 Minuten.

The proposed change in legislation would mean that costs incurred by a car would no longer be covered by social assistance, SDA reported.

An exception would be made in cases where a welfare recipient depends on a vehicle because of illness, disability or for professional reasons.

Opponents of the change said it was disproportionate given that not many welfare recipients owned cars.

They also suggested it would likely face a legal challenge.

A final vote on the proposal is expected next month. 

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