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Third stimulus package passed

The Senate has approved the government's third economic stimulus package worth SFr400million ($378 million).

The measures are aimed at mitigating the impact of the global economic downturn and the problem of long-term and youth joblessness.

Unemployment is currently around 3.4 per cent and government economists forecast it will rise to 5.5 per cent in 2010.

The Senate accepted the unemployment measures, which include financial support for further education projects in the construction and energy sectors.

It also supported a government plan to stimulate consumer spending by reimbursing the Swiss earlier than planned with income generated by a C02 tax.

However the Senate rejected a proposal to promote e-government, which would have cost SFr25 million.

The House of Representatives will discuss the proposals next week.

A first stimulus package of SFr1.5 billion was announced in November last year, and a second of more than SFr700 million followed in March. The government hopes that this latest package, announced in June, will favour a return to growth.

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