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New Swiss initiative to further restrict construction

Land use is strictly governed in Switzerland. However, a new initiative, which aims to increase construction restrictions further, recently gathered enough signatures to qualify for a a popular vote. © Dnaveh | Dreamstime.comThe initiative, dubbed the countryside initiative, was officially registered after gathering 104,487 valid signatures, more than the 100,000 that must be collected within 100 days to qualify for a referendum. The federal law on land management (LAT/RPG), an earlier...

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Swiss economy to slide less than feared, according to new forecast

An updated forecast published this week by the Switzerland’s federal government is less negative than forecasters feared in the middle of the year. © Marekusz | Dreamstime.comThe new forecast expects Swiss GDP adjusted for sporting events to fall by 3.8% in 2020 and unemployment to average 3.2% across the year. The forecast in June 2020, predicted a 6.2% fall in GDP and average unemployment of 3.8%. After the relaxation of health policy measures, the Swiss economy started to swiftly...

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Home vacancy rates continue to rise in Switzerland

Finding a place to rent or buy has never been easy in Switzerland, a real estate market notorious for tight supply of property. © Rosshelen | Dreamstime.comRecently published data from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office show are rise in vacancy rates from 1.66% to 1.72% in 2020. On 1 June 2019, there were 75,383 vacant properties either for rent or purchase across Switzerland. By 1 June 2020, the figure had risen to 78,832, a rise of close to 5%. Out of the total, 66,320 were...

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Swiss National Bank intervenes heavily to weaken Swiss franc

Official data recently released by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) show it sold 51.5 billion Swiss francs while acquiring US dollar and euro-denominated assets in a bid to weaken the franc over the first quarter of 2020. © Michael Müller | Dreamstime.comThe data followed comments by SNB President Thomas Jordan signalling that even larger interventions may be on the cards in the future. Switzerland’s long-running battle with its overvalued currency has drawn criticism from the US. In...

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Pandemic increases demand for second homes in Switzerland

Demand for second homes has risen since restrictions related to coronavirus were loosened, according to real estate company Wüest Partner. © Roland Van Der Meeren | Dreamstime.comThe option of remote working appears to be encouraging some to trade time in central city locations for more time in Alpine resorts, the countryside, commuter regions and smaller cities. The prices of second homes have risen 3.6% over the last 12 months, according to firm. Demand for independent houses in...

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Rising numbers struggling to pay rent in Switzerland

Nearly 44% of renters surveyed said that coming up with the money pay rent is now harder than it was before Covid-19, according to ASLOCA, a renters’ association. © Ocskay Mark | Dreamstime.comFollowing the survey the organisation is calling for more protection against the cancellation of rental contracts and moratoriums on evictions. The main reason cited for the current financial difficulties faced when paying rent was falling revenue from fewer hours of work, partial business...

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Referendum: higher tax deductions for children and childcare

In Switzerland, parents can claim tax allowances for their children. Currently they can deduct CHF 6,500 for each child plus up to CHF 10,100 per child for money spent on childcare from their federal tax calculation. © Marija Starcevic | Dreamstime.comResidents of Switzerland pay three layers of tax: federal, cantonal and municipal. These particular deductions apply only to federal tax. The Federal Council and Parliament decided to increase the per child deduction from CHF 6,500 to CHF...

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Cost of Swiss health insurance to rise in 2021

Compulsory Swiss health insurance premiums are set to rise by an average of 0.5% in 2021, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). © Svershinsky | Dreamstime.comThe average monthly premium will rise to CHF 316.50, 0.5% higher than in 2020. Premiums have risen an average of 3.7% p.a. since obligatory insurance was introduced in Switzerland in 1996. The average premium for adults will rise to CHF 375.40 (+0.4%), to CHF 265.60 (+0.4%) for young adults, while falling to...

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Swiss offers staff choice between pay cuts or job cuts

Swiss, Switzerland’s flag airline, which is part of the Lufthansa group, has asked employees to accept a 15% pay cut. If they reject this offer the airline has said 1,425 jobs will be at risk, 15% of the workforce, according to a report by the newspaper Sonntags Zeitung. © Nui7711 | Dreamstime.com“Our goal is to get through the crisis with as many employees as possible.” said Marco Lipp, spokesperson for the airline. “This will only be possible if substantial reductions in staff costs can...

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Referendum: Swiss to vote on ending EU agreement

On 27 September 2020, Swiss voters have many decisions to make. This time the list of votes includes decisions on fighter jets, hunting, tax deductions for child care and paternity leave. Probably the most important among them is a decision on whether to accept a proposal to end the EU agreement on the free movement of people between Switzerland and the bloc, known as the Limitation Initiative. © Miriam Doerr | Dreamstime.comThe agreement between Switzerland and the EU on the free...

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