Swiss government criticised for not doing enough to revive economy

Swiss government criticised for not doing enough to revive economy
Not everyone is happy with the way Swiss government is handling the economy. Photo AFP
While most of Switzerland’s political groups are praising the de-confinement process announced by the government on Thursday, some argue that the measures are not sweeping enough, harming the economy.

The three-stage easing of the lockdown to begin on April 27th will focus on re-opening the country’s businesses and public spaces gradually, to prevent the number of coronavirus infections from surging. 

Starting with small businesses, shops, and medical facilities, the openings will extend to schools, as well as leisure and recreational facilities over the next six weeks.

While middle and centre-left parties expressed their satisfaction with the government’ s “clear and reasonable” exit strategy, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP / UDC) predicted that the announced measures would have a detrimental effect on the country’s economy.

“Instead of strengthening the testing system, getting enough protective masks and continuing traceability of infections through applications, which would allow people in Switzerland to return to work as quickly as possible, the government increases the damage to the economy “, the party said on its website.

The SVP added that the strategy will continue to cause a sharp rise in unemployment, expected to reach 7 percent by summer — much higher than Switzerland’s usual jobless rate of below 3 percent.

“Support programs in the tens of billions of francs and the massive drop in unemployment-driven tax revenues will hugely increase the deficits of the federal government, the cantons and the communes”, the SVP said.

READ MORE: Switzerland doubles emergency coronavirus loan fund for small businesses 

Among those who are also critical of the exit strategy are restaurant and tourism sectors, which are not included in the timeline for the de-confinement.

“Our industry is left in a state of uncertainty “, said Casimir Platzer, president of GastroSuisse, an association of hotels, restaurants, and bars in a press release. 

“It is very disappointing that the Federal Council has not offered us a possibility to resume our activities, when many companies in other branches will be able to start a return to normalcy”.

The government had not explained why the sector is excluded from the exit strategy, or when it might be allowed to operate again.

 


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