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Social assistance cases rise slightly

The number of people receiving welfare in 13 Swiss cities increased by two per cent in 2010, although the longer-term rate for most cities is declining.

Lausanne and Biel remain the hotspots for social assistance with one in ten residents needing help from the local authorities to make ends meet.

The overall increase of two per cent was lower than feared after the financial crisis and the reform of the disability insurance system, a representative of the Cities Initiative body, which commissioned the report, said on Tuesday.

The risk of having to depend on social assistance is higher in the large Swiss-German cities, such as Zurich and Basel, the figures show.

Some of the recipients are in paid employment but do not earn enough to cover basic living costs. Households headed by single-parents with no qualifications are the most likely to need the financial support.

The statistics also show a significant proportion of benefit recipients are under 18. The rate varies from 26 to 35 per cent, depending on the city. and agencies

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