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Study warns of welfare trap

People dependent on welfare payments risk being excluded from society, a wide-ranging study has found.

The National Science Foundation has called for reform to adapt the system to individual needs, particularly those of younger people.

Eighteen to 25 year olds make up the largest group of welfare beneficiaries. They accounted for nearly 13 per cent of the total in 2006.

Overall about 245,000 people in Switzerland lived on welfare – 3.3 per cent of the population.

Welfare should be based increasingly on a voluntary and participatory approach, and a relationship of respect towards the needy, according to a Science Foundation statement on Tuesday. It also called for increased coordination among social security institutions.

Otherwise welfare recipients face a similar fate to those of poor families, single mothers and travellers in the 19th and 20th century, whose livelihoods were destroyed by an authoritarian policy, it warned.

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