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Budget Farmers spared from 2016 spending cuts

Finance Minister Widmer-Schlumpf during her final appearance in parliament this week


Parliament has agreed next year’s government budget which foresees a deficit of CHF496 million ($501 million), amid spending cuts for most sectors except for agriculture. 

The House of Representative on Thursday approved a final compromise with the Senate, ending two weeks of debate. 

Revenue for 2016 is expected to reach CHF66.7 billion against costs of CHF67.2 billion. 

Outgoing Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told parliament that the cabinet had reduced the initial budget by CHF1.3 billion, dismissing calls, notably from the political right, for further drastic cuts across the board. 

But parliament, supported by members of the conservative right Swiss People’s Party and the centre-right Radical Party, decided to increase government spending for the agricultural sector by nearly CHF93 million compared with the bill presented by the cabinet. 

Widmer-Schlumpf argued unsuccessfully that the government proposals would not harm the average income of farmers. 

More cuts 

Moves are underway for further spending cuts to the tune of CHF2.8 billion between 2017 and 2019. 

The finance ministry last month presented a detailed list of proposals which were sent for consultation to political parties, cantons and other institutions. 

The sectors most hit by the planned cuts are development aid, science and research as well as welfare spending.

Urs Geiser, and agencies

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