5-speed listening (Level 6)

Swiss vote no to free monthly income for all



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Voters in Switzerland have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that would have meant introducing a guaranteed basic monthly income for all citizens. The referendum took place on Sunday and resulted in almost 77 per cent of voters opposing the plan. The idea was to provide a minimum salary to those who have been a citizen for at least five years, whether they worked or not. It was suggested the monthly amount could be around $2,500. The group behind the proposal argued that the initiative was necessary to overhaul Switzerland's social welfare system. A spokesperson said it would help fight poverty and inequality. He added that it would provide a top-up for people who earned less than the minimum wage.

Supporters of the plan argued that because work was becoming increasingly automated across Switzerland, there were fewer jobs available for workers. Che Wagner from the campaign group Basic Income Switzerland argued that the monthly income would not be money for nothing. He said: "In Switzerland, over 50 per cent of total work that is done is unpaid. It's care work. It's at home. It's in different communities, so that work would be more valued with a basic income." Opponents said it would cause the country many immigration problems. Luzi Stamm from the Swiss People's Party said: "You would have billions of people who would try to move into Switzerland."

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