Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Calls for a national website to list gasoline prices, Covid's impact on Switzerland's finances, and other Swiss news this Thursday.
Young Socialists target Switzerland’s rich
The Young Swiss Socialist party has launched an initiative seeking to “strongly tax extremely high inheritances of more than 50 million francs and, with this money, finance a different climate policy, imprinted with social justice”.
The party justifies their initiative by pointing out that “it is the ultra-rich who benefit the most from the system at the origin of the crisis — capitalism — and who jeopardise the basis of our lives for their profits. Our initiative ensures that the ultra-rich pay for climate policy”.
On the opposing side of the political spectrum, the Young Liberal-Radicals immediately denounced this proposal as “a frontal attack against the Swiss model of success”.
MPs call for a national website to list gasoline prices
The Economy Committee of the National Council has put forward a motion to establish an online calculator showing gasoline prices at all petrol stations in the country, so that consumers can see where it is most advantageous to fuel up.
The idea is to create competition in this sector, a measure seen as an effective way to force the gasoline industry in Switzerland lower gasoline prices.
Switzerland could have a task force to freeze oligarch assets
MPs have filed a motion on Wednesday asking the Federal Council to set up, “as soon as possible”, a special task to implement international sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
The role of this committee would be to find and freeze the assets held in Switzerland by wealthy nationals of these two countries who are on the international list of persons sanctioned in connection with the war in Ukraine.
Working from home could (sometimes) save energy
Popular during the height of coronavirus pandemic, the home office model is being discussed again in some circles as an energy-saving measure.
The premise is that not having to commute to the physical office would reduce reliance on fuel — both for the transportation and heating.
“Where you can implement home office in such a way that entire rooms or even buildings do not have to be heated, it can definitely save energy”, according to Harald Mayr, environmental economist at the University of Zurich,
A study commissioned by the Federal Office of Energy found that working from home saves less than 1 percent of the total energy consumption in Switzerland.
While this seems like a small amount, Mayr says it is worth it in some cases.
“From the point of view of an individual company, the savings can be significantly more than one percent."
Switzerland’s finances are in the red due to Covid
The government is expecting a “financing gap” of 5 billion francs for the year 2022 — 2.7 billion more thatnit had originally budgeted.
This deficit is essentially linked to "extraordinary expenses", currently estimated at 7.4 billion.
The bulk of this amount, 6.5 billion francs, is needed to combat the pandemic, while 900 million is to be used toward the support of Ukrainian refugees in Switzerland.
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