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New call made to slash poverty

A major pressure group has presented measures it says are needed to halve the number of people in Switzerland living below the poverty line.

The Swiss Conference for Social Institutions called on the federal authorities to take a greater role in joint efforts by the cantonal and local governments as well as private institutions.

“The fight against poverty is foremost a question of political willingness,” said the association’s president, Walter Schmid, at the start of the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

The Conference wants to see the number of poor cut in half by 2020.

Schmid said the proposed measures were aimed at launching a broad debate on combating poverty as the interior ministry is preparing its strategy.

The church charity Caritas last week said up to 900,000 people – an estimated 12 per cent of the population – are in need of social welfare.

Schmid said the figure was a rather broad estimate but he warned that poverty should not be seen as normal or unavoidable.

Urs Geiser,


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