‘Solidarity tax’: Should the wealthiest Swiss pay more to help country overcome coronavirus crisis?

A Swiss politician is suggesting that rich individuals should be the ones to assume the costs for the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Is this likely to happen?

'Solidarity tax': Should the wealthiest Swiss pay more to help country overcome coronavirus crisis?
Taxes are not likely to increase in Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on Switzerland, not only health-wise but also financially.

While the exact figure is not yet known, the Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) has calculated that, at best, Switzerland’s economy will lose 22 billion francs between March and June of this year. In the worst-case scenario, the loss will be much higher, reaching 34 billion francs. 

READ MORE: UPDATE: What you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in Switzerland 

Christian Levrat, president of the Social Democratic Party, has a solution to recover the losses: he wants to make the rich pay the bill.

“The crisis must be paid for by those who made profits during the pandemic”, he said in an interview

“We want to create a fund fed by a solidarity tax”, Levrat added, explaining that the highest earners should be subject to an additional 10 percent federal tax for a certain period of time.

“Only people with taxable income of more than 300,000 francs would have to pay”, he said.

Asked whether the wealthy people will leave Switzerland if they would have to pay more taxes, Levrat replied that “the situation will not be better elsewhere”.

The maximum federal tax rate imposed on the highest Swiss earners is 11.5 percent, so according to Levrat’s idea, the wealthiest people would have to pay 21.5 percent of their income to cover the costs related to the pandemic.

There is no reaction yet to Levrat’s proposal, but taxes are unlikely to increase.

Although “the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on federal finances, Switzerland's low government debt means that the country is in a sound financial position”, the Federal Finance Administration (FFA) said. 

According to FFA ,“the debt brake is designed to be flexible in exceptional circumstances and allows for considerable additional expenditure. It contains an exemption for uncontrollable contingencies, such as severe recessions, natural disasters, acts of war and other exceptional events”.





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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?