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Green light given for financial boost to economy

Parliament has approved a controversial package of financial measures to counter the impact of the strong Swiss franc on the economy.

The largest chunk of the SFr870 million ($975 million) package approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday will go to supplement the state unemployment insurance plan.

The SFr500 million for unemployment insurance will help cover loss of income suffered by  employees whose working hours have been compulsorily reduced.

More than SFr200 million will be invested in research and promoting innovation while hotels will receive a SFr100 million credit.


In August, the government proposed a SFr2 billion boost to the economy, but following widespread criticism decided three weeks ago to present the SFr870 million as a first instalment to parliament.

The money is to be taken from an expected 2011 budget surplus.

The cabinet has said it will present a second package of measures to parliament in December if the economy is still suffering under the effects of the strong franc, which at its highest on August 11 was SFr1.04 to the euro. A year previously it would have cost SFr1.38 to buy a euro.

The Swiss National Bank intervened two weeks ago setting a minimum exchange rate target of SFr1.20 to the euro. and agencies

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