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Survey frowns on competition to attract rich

The team of Swiss Perspective looks into the future (Perspektive Schweiz)

A majority of Swiss are unhappy about the competition among cantons to attract rich taxpayers by offering them advantageous deals, according to an online survey.

And more than half of those polled in the “Swiss Perspective” questionnaire favour imposing more limits on smokers and oppose moves to legalise cannabis.

Two out of three people who took part in the poll would like to abolish the tax competition among the cantons for people who earn more than SFr300,000 ($241,838).

The survey, which was published on Wednesday, revealed that supporters of all political parties and in all cantons would welcome a unified tax rate for the wealthy. Two thirds (69 per cent) are in favour of abolishing inheritance tax.

A majority of those polled are against all current proposals to improve the state of the federal pension scheme.

They reject raising the retirement age to 67, tax increases to benefit the scheme, and cuts to the amount of pension paid.

Cannabis opposition

A move to legalise cannabis, which is being proposed in a people’s initiative, convinced only 36 per cent of respondents, compared with 52 per cent who opposed it.

Tobacco and smoking did not find much sympathy among those surveyed either.

The results confirmed the trend for increasing restrictions on smoking areas, which an increasing number of cantons are supporting and soon the government.

More than three people in four approve of banning smoking from all enclosed spaces, including restaurants, railway stations, and places of work or training.

Only pubs and bars escape the general discontent on the smoking issue. Just four people in ten are in favour of a smoking ban in such establishments.

Smoking a luxury

Smoking will become a luxury, if the majority get their way. Fifty-three per cent believe the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes should be equal to or more than SFr8.

On the issue of taxation, 46 per cent think they pay too much tax for the actual benefits they receive from the state, whereas 37 per cent are satisfied with the current situation.

People with a monthly income of between SFr8,000 and SFr12,000 find that the tax they pay is more or less justified (44%), while those earning less than SFr3,000 a month are not so enthusiastic (30 per cent).

A total of 20,600 people took part in the poll, answering questions on 32 issues regarding the future of Switzerland. It took place between mid-October and the beginning of December for the third time.

The researchers behind the survey say that the results are representative of Swiss public opinion, with a margin of error of four per cent.

swissinfo with agencies

Swiss Perspective is organised by Vernunft Schweiz (Swiss Common Sense), a politically neutral and independent association that provides facts and background information on Swiss economic policy.

The survey, carried out for the Swiss Perspective group, is the third of its kind in Switzerland.

20,000 internet users took part in the poll in 2006. Previous surveys were based on data from 13,000 and 16,800 respondents respectively.

Perspective Switzerland was set up by a group of students from across the country in 2003 with the aim to provide what they say is neutral information for citizens keen to take part in nationwide votes.

The group has commercial sponsors and is supported by Switzerland’s five main political parties.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR