2.500 Swiss francs a month: New push for Universal Basic Income in Switzerland
Five years after the previous referendum was defeated, a new initiative in Switzerland hopes to establish a universal basic income of 2.500 Swiss francs per month to support working people.
Universal basic income of 2.500 Swiss francs a month
The initiative, named "Leben in Würde – für ein finanzierbares bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen" or "Living in dignity - for an affordable unconditional basic income," is a new movement designed to “secure the livelihood of everyone, to guarantee the human right to a life in dignity and self-determination and to appreciate previously unpaid work.” It aims to give every worker in Switzerland an extra 2.500 Swiss francs a month, on top of their regular paycheck, to help with rent, food and education.
In a statement, the initiative said the pandemic had put the issue of universal basic income, or UBI, back into the public debate. It noted that voluntary care work, homeschooling and social work done during COVID would “finally be honoured” by the change. Former Federal Council spokesperson and advocate Oswald Sigg said that COVID and the climate crisis “requires an economy for the people, not an economy that uses people.”
COVID-19 pandemic made basic income more desirable in Switzerland
The referendum has been put to a vote before, with 76,9 percent of people rejecting it at the ballot box, mainly taking issue with the cost, estimated by the government to be around 208 billion Swiss francs a year. Now, the committee running the referendum has hoped to gain more support by explaining that the cost would be covered by raising business taxes for banking and tech companies.
They argued that if large international companies were to pay a “fair share” of taxes, UBI would be easily funded. They hope that UBI would help Switzerland “further develop existing social works, promote our democracy and secure our prosperity.”