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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Theft of wood is on the rise, toilet paper getting more expensive, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Another 'essential' product is getting more expensive in Switzerland. Image by Filmbetrachter from Pixabay

Theft of wood is growing in Switzerland

The threat of energy crisis is pushing people to extreme acts: wood is in such high demand, that theft of this potential heating source is growing in Switzerland.

Wood producers report that boxes of firewood stocked in their facilities are being stolen.

“At the moment, one in four boxes is taken away without being paid for”, according to timber producer Samuel Bischofberger.

And Thomas Studer, director of a forestry operation in the canton of Solothurn said that “wood supplies are melting like snow in the sun.”

The price of toilet paper is rising

While there is no shortage of this essential household product in Switzerland, as was the case at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, it is becoming considerably more expensive.

In the past few months, its price has increased by 35 percent because the production of paper is “very energy-intensive”.

So you can now add toilet paper to the list of products that are becoming more expensive to buy because of higher energy prices.

READ MORE: Pasta up by 13 percent: How food and energy prices in Switzerland are rising
 

There is, however, some good news on the price front:

Switzerland has the cheapest iPhone 14 in Europe

It is a very rare occurrence that a consumer product in Switzerland is cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. But that is the case with the newest model of smartphone that Apple launched on September 7th.

The data collected by Hellosafe consumer site shows that, at 1,049 francs, Switzerland has the lowest price in Europe.

While this (relatively) low price may come as surprise to many people accustomed to the country’s notoriously high cost of living, the fact is that prices for electronics in Switzerland are hard to beat, at least compared to elsewhere in Europe.

This is partly due to lower value-added tax (VAT)  rate in Switzerland, which currently stands at 7.7 percent.

READ MORE: 13 things that are actually ‘cheaper’ in Switzerland
 

Where will the Swiss take a holiday this autumn?

The possibility of a strike by SWISS pilots on October 17th has not, so far, affected the bookings for foreign holidays.

The reservation site ebookers has published the top 10 most-booked destinations for travel from Switzerland between mid-September and the end of October. At the top of the ranking of flight reservations is Bangkok.

Within Europe, ranking high are Palma, in the fourth place, Lisbon (5th), Istanbul (6th), Antalya (7th), Barcelona (8th) and Heraklion (9th).

The only urban and European destination in the ranking, London, is in second position. Farther afield, there is New York (3rd) and Dubai (10th).

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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For members

TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Higher healthcare premiums, pensions adapted to inflation, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Sharp increase in insurance premiums to be announced

Health Minister Alain Berset is expected to announce the new hikes at a press conference this afternoon.

While the exact increase is not yet known, Santésuisse, the umbrella group for health insurance carriers, predicts that an average hike of 10 percent would be necessary to cover the soaring healthcare costs.

Health spending went up by more than 6 percent, mainly because treatments that could not be carried out in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic had to be postponed to the following year.

The cost of Covid tests and vaccination has also increased the per-capita health spending.

READ MORE: How spiralling costs are jeopardising Switzerland’s healthcare system

MPs approve cost-cutting measures

On Monday, the Council of States decided to fully adapt old-age AHV / AVS pensions to inflation.

And if the increase in cost is 2 percent higher in the course of one year, pensions will have to be adjusted accordingly.

The measure, already previously approved by the National Council, is intended to help low and middle-income households to cope with inflation, rising healthcare premiums, and higher fuel and energy prices.

READ MORE: ‘Extraordinary measures’: What could Switzerland do to ease soaring cost of living?

Online comparator of fuel prices will see the light of day

Even though the Federal Council opposes this move, the MPs have voted on Monday to accept the creation of an app helping motorists to find cheapest gasoline prices at stations in their area.

Deputies have been urging the government to launch such an app, but the Federal Council .refused, noting that while energy prices have indeed soared in the past months, inflation in Switzerland “remains moderate compared to other countries”.

READ MORE: Why the Swiss government doesn’t want a fuel-comparison app
 

Switzerland’s first dating platform for anti-vaxxers launched

Though the anti-vaccination faction has not been as vociferous in Switzerland lately as during the pandemic, they have now launched a dating site for like-minded people.

The only criteria to join the site — which already has 1,200 members — is to oppose the “Covid gene therapy” and be vaccination-free.

The website states it is used for “charitable and idealistic purposes” and promotes “the holistic development of people and nature”.

Expect colder, wetter weather this week

Starting today and continuing for the next few days, the forecast calls for tempratures ranging from 12C to 14C in much of the country, as well as intermittent rain and wind.

The snow line will drop to 1,400 metres.

The coming days will bring an active cold front with rain and a surge of even cooler air, meteorologists say.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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