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Federal commission proposes reform of family allowance system

The new proposals would leave families better off


A special commission appointed to look at family allowances has proposed a number of reforms, saying the measures could cut poverty within families by 50 per cent.

The Federal Coordination Commission on Family Questions on Monday proposed a standardised programme to replace the existing system, which varies in all of Switzerland's 26 cantons.

"Each canton has its own system and there are big differences among them. It's not very efficient," said commission president, Jürg Krummenacher.

The reform would be based on a three-tier system: the two existing pillars of tax deductions and family allowances, plus the "Ticino Model", which would introduce complementary allowances for needy families.

The model was described at a news conference in Berne as an efficient tool after being applied in the southern Italian-speaking canton of Ticino.

Krummenacher said about six per cent of all families in Switzerland live in poverty, and the application of the "Ticino Model" on a national level would reduce that by half.

The commission also favours reforms in family taxation. And as far as family benefits are concerned, the commission recommends a federal payment of at least SFr200 ($113) a month per child, which would make up for the differences between the 26 cantonal models.

Krummenacher said he did not think the cantons would object to losing their authority on the issue.

"We have been discussing this change for a long time and I would say that many of the cantons now feel that the present system has no bearing on mobility in modern society. If somebody lives in one canton and works in another, you have the problem of deciding which canton has to pay the family allowances."

swissinfo with agencies

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