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Hardship fund Switzerland to spend less on fighting poverty

A picture of a wardrobe in the streets for homeless people to help themselves to blankets

An outdoor wardrobe near Lausanne which allows homeless people to help themselves to warm clothes and blankets, particularly during the cold winter months. 


The Swiss government has given a positive assessment of the national programme against poverty, but has decided to allocate substantially less funding to it over the next five years.

There are currently 615,000 people living in poverty in Switzerland, which corresponds to 7.5% of the permanent resident population, wrote the Federal Council in a statementexternal link on Wednesday. Some 108,000 of the people affected are children.

Compared to previous years the poverty rate is stable, the government added, but there is a slight upward trend.

+ Find out more about children living in poverty in affluent Switzerland

Over the last five years, the federal government – in conjunction with cantons, cities, municipalities, and non-governmental organisations – has implemented a programme to prevent and combat poverty in the country. It spent a total of CHF9 million ($9.3 million) for this purpose between the years of 2014 and 2018.

Substantial cuts

In its reportexternal link, the Federal Council concluded that the programme has proven to be successful and renewed its commitment to fight poverty. However, though it pledged a further CHF2.5 million to the programme over the next five years, this is less than a third of the money provided during the previous four years.

The government will also not introduce a poverty monitoring system, it announced. The Federal Statistical Officeexternal link is already conducting studies on the development of poverty in the country, the Federal Council wrote.


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