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Parliament baulks at third stimulus package

The House of Representatives has adopted a much slimmed down version of the government's third economic stimulus package.

The package, intended to support the labour market and the unemployed, was reduced by parliamentarians from SFr400 million ($386 million) to just SFr65 million.

The parties of the political right refused to extend benefits to the long-term unemployed and young job seekers. The rump package was eventually passed by 94 votes to 87.

Unemployment is currently around 3.4 per cent and government economists forecast it will rise to 5.5 per cent in 2010.

The Senate approved the full stimulus package last week. The matter will now be referred back to the Senate for further debate.

A first stimulus package of SFr1.5 billion was announced in November last year and a second of more than SFr700 million followed in March.

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