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Review finds social policies lacking

Social security policy has regressed over the past six years, failing to protect people from the ensuing financial crisis, a directory on the social situation says.

The 2009 Social Almanac, published by the Christian charity Caritas, says Switzerland failed to make enough welfare provisions during its recent boom years.

The review says in recent years there has been a dismantling of the social security system, increased pressure to integrate with other systems without taking into account the market's capacity for providing jobs for the weakest in society and insurance benefits have gone down.

Progress has been made in recent years with the introduction of maternity insurance and improved family benefits, it added.

Despite continued strong growth, the number of people on welfare did not significantly decrease. What's more, a 50 per cent rise in jobless figures expected in 2009 will put a strain on unemployment and welfare benefits.

"The duty of the welfare state is to protect people from poverty and social exclusion when the economy slows," said Caritas economist Carlo Knöpfel.